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Big Moose Community Chapel in Eagle Bay exhibits a blend of Gothic-inspired forms combined with Adirondack style. (Photo submitted)

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Big Moose Chapel recommended for historic register

Thursday, April 04, 2013 - Updated: 3:43 PM

By CRISTINE MEIXNER

Editor

EAGLE BAY - The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended the addition of 27 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including Big Moose Community Chapel in Eagle Bay, Herkimer County, just west of the Town of Inlet, Hamilton County.

Other recommendations include the home of abolitionist James C. Beecher, the world's oldest pet cemetery, and a modern housing community planned by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The stone chapel, at 1544 Big Moose Road, is a distinctive and exceptionally intact example of religious architecture, according to the nomination. The work of an Adirondack master builder, Earl Covey, the 1931 church exhibits a blending of Gothic-inspired forms combined with the local Adirondack style for which Covey was best known.

The chapel has many of the typical characteristics of the Gothic Revival style including asymmetrical massing, bell tower with crenellated roofline, buttressed stone walls and recessed, pointed arch windows with tracery.

It sits on a wooded 12.4-acre parcel on the shoreline of Big Moose Lake.

EARL COVEY

Earl Covey was a regionally important builder whose father was among the first permanent residents of the area in the late 1800s. Covey built many camps around Big Moose Lake, Fourth Lake and Twitchell Lake.

In addition to the chapel, his other major projects included Twitchell Lake Inn and Covewood Lodge.

Big Moose Community Chapel is a non-denominational Christian church. The first recorded religious services on Big Moose Lake were in 1893, by two Congregational ministers staying at the lake for the season.

LOCAL GRANITE

The church's foundation and walls are of locally quarried granite. The cross-gabled roof is clad in standing seam copper and has parapet walls screening all three gable ends.

There are battered granite buttress between each of the bays on the long axes of the sanctuary block and on all six corners of the building. With the exception of the two windows on the main façade of the main elevation, all windows are pointed arched and deeply recessed, with the upper portions surrounded by wedge-shaped granite stones with diamond- shaped granite capstones.

The main facade, facing Big Moose Road, features the primary entrance, a large pointed arched door opening accessed by a flight of stone steps. The double doors are of varnished yellow birch with iron hardware.

IRON RAILINGS

The stairs have curved ornamental iron railings. A pair of granite buttresses with ornamental iron light fixtures frame the entrance. Flanking the entrance are two pointed arched window openings.

Surmounting the entrance near the top of the parapet wall is a large recessed circle with a stone cross inside. The only opening on the belfry is a louvered arch for the bell; like other openings this pointed arch is deeply recessed, and the upper portion is surrounded by wedge-shaped granite voussoirs with diamond-shaped granite capstones.

The roofline of the tower is crenellated.

MASSIVE FIREPLACE

A massive fireplace of rough-faced ashlar stones, covered by a decorative hand-forged iron fireplace screen, is at the south end of the sanctuary. Above the mantel is a birch panel inscribed with the "Woodsman's Prayer," composed by Covey.

The three chandeliers are of very elaborate hand-forged iron. The side aisles are lit by electrified candles in ornamental copper sconces shaped like pine trees.

The belfry contains a large bronze bell with the inscription "Meneely Bell Co./Troy N.Y./1931."

GRANTS AND CREDITS

Listing properties on the historic registers can assist owners in revitalizing the structures, by making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching grants and tax credits.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York state and the nation.

Once the state historic preservation officer approves recommendations the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

The same eligibility criteria are used for both registers. The chapel was nominated to the state register last spring.

     

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