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Somerset Church to Become a Museum | Community Spirit

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Somerset Church to Become a Museum

SOMERSET, NY – The Somerset Union Methodist Episcopal Church at 8501 Lake Road, Barker, New York has recently been sold to a new owner.  This 6525 sq ft church fell into neglect and disrepair following its closure in 1969.  The roof leaks, the interior walls have significant water damage, the entry floors are rotted away, the electrical is from 1920 and there is no insulation.  The stained glass windows are in need of repair and protection.  There is no heat or air conditioning.  But the structure has great bones and only needs a little tender loving care to once again become a magnificent building.  The choice of converting the structure to a museum is important to the community because it is in an area where alternative uses for such a large structures are hard to find and the church is integrated within the historical identity of this rural community.  The property deed specifically states that the building can never be sold to another religious organization intending to conduct religious meetings.

The first church organized in Somerset, New York was the Methodist, the class being formed in 1817 at the house of Silas Meade. Masten Sherwood was leader. After two years of meetings at Mr. Meade's house, they were moved to the school house on Mr. Meade's farm for the next five years. Rev. Daniel Shepherdson was the first preacher on this part of the Genesee Conference.   A site for building a church was purchased in 1831, at Somerset Corners, and a small edifice erected, in 1839, the money for which was raised by subscription. In 1870, the society built the parsonage which still stands next to the church. In 1878 the old church was sold to Dr. Irving Hotaling, and the present edifice built on the site.  Parishioners of the Somerset Methodist church consolidated with the Barker Methodist Church and built a new church at the corner of Haight and Quaker Roads in Barker.

Watch the church as you drive down Lake Road.  Great things will be happening as the building is renovated and converted in to the Somerset Union Museum.

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