Grace Church History

The beginnings of the Anglican presence in Scottsville go back to the winter of 1841-1842 when services were held in a schoolhouse located on Rochester Street It was not until 1885, however, that the congregation had become large enough to organize itself under the canons of the Episcopal Church and erect a church building.

Grace Church, a Monroe County ‘Landmark’, is widely regarded for its architectural beauty. The Richardsonian Romanesque was the work of the Ellis Brothers of Rochester. The church today appears very much as it did in its earliest years. Viewed from above, Grace Church sustains a cruciform shape, with transepts and apse, appearing from a front elevation as engaged turrets.1

The compelling quality of the interior rises partly from a sustained gallery of stained glass with mystical imagery, together with an ingenious system of trussed rafters which adds a soaring quality to the ceiling.1 The architecture is complemented by an array of chandeliers, each hung with hundreds of glass prisms The chandeliers originally held oil lamps.

A pedal-operated reed organ served the parish for but one year, when the Senior Warden purchased a thirty year old Johnson Tracker organ to support congregational singing. The organ was originally installed in a church in Hartford Connecticut in 1854. An electric air supply for the organ was obtained in the twenties, and in 1972 the organ underwent extensive reconstruction. It remains one of the oldest organs of its type in the area.

Until the mid 1950s, the exterior remained largely unchanged. At that time, it was decided that there was a driving need for additional facilities, such as a kitchen, lavatories, offices, meeting rooms, class rooms and storage space. A drive was undertaken to raise the necessary funds to add a Parish House to the back of the church.2 The design was by nature and purpose utilitarian, with little to distinguish it, save for the fact that in no way did the Parish Hall compete with the church proper for attention. A measure of grace came to the building in 1976, however, when the Parish Hall was architecturally blended with the design of the church through the addition of a bell tower at the north end. The bell for the tower came from an abandoned Methodist church in Mount Morris, New York.3

1. “Grace Episcopal Church – An Anecdotal History – 1885-1985; pg 8; The Rev. David A. Edman

2. ibid pg 9

3. ibid pg 10