Caroga Chapel celebrates 100th anniversary


Caroga Chapel will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Aug. 6.

CAROGA LAKE – Caroga Chapel will celebrate a special service on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 10:15 a.m. with Rev. Laurie Garramone from the St. John’s Episcopal Church, Johnstown officiating. A reception will follow for a time to share pictures and stories.

The concept of a summer chapel in Caroga Lake started with Sunday meetings taking place in different cottages on the Caroga Lakes prior to the summer of 1922.

Allen W. Johnston of Schenectady, owner of land bordering on West Caroga Lake offered lots large enough to build a chapel and parsonage valued at approximately $1,000. On August 15, 1922 a Certificate of Incorporation was approved and signed by seven Trustees with the name and title to be called Caroga Evangelical Chapel. 

The building of this chapel was completed at a cost of about $5,200 which included furniture and the grading of the grounds.

The dedication of the chapel took place on June 17, 1923 under the direction of the Rev. Fred L. Decker of the First Methodist Church of Gloversville. Two wings were added to the original chapel in 1939.

On March 29, 1971 the chapel was demolished after collapsing because of the weight of a heavy coat of ice and snow.

The Board of Trustees immediately planned to build a new place of worship. It was planned by W. Randall Company Inc. and would be a one-story frame structure 40 ft. wide and 48 feet long. The estimated cost was $22,000.  By June 12, 1971 two-thirds of the new chapel was completed. On July 4, 1971 the new chapel was dedicated with 350 people in attendance. The service was conducted by Rev. Albert H. Van Dyke with Rev. James Frost and Rev. Marc Andreae assisting. Arthur Cane spoke on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

The Chapel continues to host many visiting ministers and a variety of musical talent. The Trustees’ aim is to continue this ministry to Caroga summer residents.

Many weddings and memorial services have been held here.

As a result of the generosity of summer worshipers, the outreach of the Chapel has increased in recent years by giving financial mission support to the North Bush United Methodist Church, Needy or Alone and Hungry (NOAH) in Johnstown, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Heifer International.

In 2012 the Caroga Music Festival got its start performing in the Chapel with just a few musicians. Now they have extensive programming throughout the year based at the site of the former Sherman’s Amusement Park. They will perform on August 5 at 7 p.m. at the Chapel with a program titled CLMF Returns to its Roots: Caroga Chapel 100th Anniversary Concert.

The Board of Trustees hopes that you will join us this summer of celebration! Services begin at 10:15 a .m. with an old-fashioned hymn sing followed by general Protestant worship at 10:30.


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