Old Whalers' Church, Sag Harbor, NY
Constructed in 1843-44 to the designs of New York City architect Minard Lafever, Sag Harbor’s Presbyterian Church (“Old Whalers”) is distinctive for its Egyptian Revival architecture, despite the loss of its unique steeple in the Hurricane of ’38. The nickname derives from the spyglass-shaped steeple, said to have been the last thing a sailor saw when departing on a whaling voyage, and the first thing he spied on his return home! A National Historic Landmark, the church is a contributing resource within the National Register-listed Sag Harbor Historic District. Each of the community’s leading citizens once belonged to the congregation. Notable among them was whaling entrepreneur Benjamin Huntting’s family, whose silver nameplate is preserved on one of the front pews. The Hunttings employed church architect Lafever to design their own palatial Greek Revival style town house in 1845; today, it serves as the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum. Notable features of the church include the organ, which dates from the original construction period, and the trompe l‘oeil wall behind the altar, painted to simulate a semi-circular apse. This important faux painting was recently restored by parishioners.
In January 2007, the Church of Sag Harbor scanned most of their records which include the church's Bills of Mortality. These records are available by clicking the appropriate periods below:
1795-1834 (pages 59-84)
1864-1876 (pages 109-115)
1890-1912 (pages 213-225)
1915-1941 (pages 115-132)