Beach’s symbol of faith

SYLVAN BEACH —This picturesque village along the shore of Oneida Lake has many attractions that any summer visitor can enjoy: Beaches, restaurants, campsites and amusement rides. It also has a chapel.

The Sylvan Beach Union Chapel on Park Avenue probably isn’t at the top of the list of most warm-weather enthusiasts, but it’s special nonetheless.

Yesterday, the chapel celebrated its 125th anniversary with a special service and reception.

The chapel’s history reflects a different era in upstate history, a time when there weren’t any speedy cars, multiple lane highways and speedboats. Trains were a preferred way to travel.

It was in 1886 that Reuben Spencer offered to donate the site for the proposed church with the understanding that it would be open to all denominations. In 1887, a train excursion was set up to make plans for the Chapel. People met in the Forest Home Hotel. The Ontario and Western Railroad donated two railroad cars for the excursion from Norwich to Sylvan Beach.

The chapel was finished in 1887 at a cost of $1,509.12.

Original kerosene chandeliers have since been refurbished, and glass globes and shades were added by the former Music Museum in Deansboro. The Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

As with any historic building, there’s always something to repair, refurbish or fix. The Chapel is raising money to pay for replacement of original beams. Donations can be made to the Sylvan Beach Union Chapel and sent to P.O. Box 182, North Bay, NY 13123.