A couple of weeks ago we told you about a great non-profit farm venue in Cold Spring, NY. This week we’re bringing you another non-profit venue right along Cold Spring’s waterfront, one steeped in faith, Irish heritage, and American history. The Chapel Restoration offers couples a non-denominational church venue and a small reception venue, to couples looking to get married on the banks of the Hudson River.
The story of the Chapel Restoration begins in the aftermath of the War of 1812. Realizing that the fledgling U.S. military was outgunned during the conflict, President James Madison called for the creation of foundries to produce artillery. The village of Cold Spring proved an ideal spot for just such an enterprise: there were iron mines in the vicinity and plenty of other natural resources, including a brook to power machinery. Plus, the site could be guarded by West Point right across the river.
By 1817, a wealthy New York City merchant by the name of Gouverneur Kemble had the West Point Foundry up and running thanks to the help of Irish immigrants with expertise in ironworking. Kemble took good care of his employees, providing their families with healthcare and a church for their spiritual needs. It was the first Catholic church north of Manhattan and it drew Irish immigrants from the surrounding communities, including Irish cadets from West Point who would walk to Sunday mass in wintertime over the frozen Hudson River .
The West Point Foundry reached the pinnacle of its success during the Civil War when it produced its famed Parrott rifle, a small cannon which made a big impact on the North’s war effort. The foundry also produced America’s first iron ship, the USS Spencer, and was so well known that it attracted a special visit from President Lincoln and was featured in the Jules Verne novel, “From the Earth to the Moon”. But after the war, the foundry faced a number of competitors that drove it to bankruptcy in 1889.
By 1906, Cold Spring’s fortunes had so changed that the little church established by the foundry was abandoned. In 1927, the building caught fire and laid in ruins until 1971. That was when a group of concerned individuals of all faiths came together to purchase the property and begin a restoration. The project took six years to complete and the Chapel Restoration was opened in 1977.
Today the Chapel Restoration is available for weddings from April 1st to November 30th. The building can accomodate about 100 people, on the ground floor and on a small balcony.
The interior is filled with lots of natural light through large windows on each side. On overcast days and in the evening, the chandelier and a number of hurricane lamps can provide illumination for events.
The Chapel Restoration hosts concerts throughout the year and the acoustics are said to be fantastic. Couples can bing their own musicians and make use of a 100-year-old Steinway grand piano providing they have a qualified pianist (the Chapel Restoration staff can recommend a select list of pianists). In order to preserve the instrument, it can only be moved with permission and cannot be decorated.
Upstairs in the balcony is a 17th Century inspired pipe organ built specially for the chapel’s renovation, and there are limited number of seats available for those who want a bird’s eye view of the event. Mary Early, the Chapel Restoration’s Event Coordinator, tells us that some couple have hidden choirs up there to surprise guests with vocal music upon entering the venue. “I was really beautiful,” she said.
Starting this season, the Chapel Restoration will be making available its chancery building for small receptions up to 70 people. The building stands just behind the chapel and in modern in design,
Inside there is a bridal getting ready room with lots of natural light from an overhead window; a stocked kitchenette; and guest restrooms.
Cocktail hours can be staged indoors. Small receptions can be held on the flagstones of the courtyard out front where a tent can be put up.
Coordinator Mary Early stresses that the Chapel Restoration is a historical site; as such there are limitations and special usage guidelines. “Couples should be aware that the chapel is not handicapped accessible. There is also no PA system. In the winter there is no heat and in the summer there is no air conditioning,” says Mary. “We also ask that couples and their vendors avoid using tacks or tape in their decor, or anything else that might mark the walls.”
Couples are responsible for clean up after events as the staff will not usually be on hand, except for opening the doors of the site one hour before your event. “Generally, we just ask that the site be returned to the condition as it was found to respect the historic significance of the place.”
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the Metro-North’s Cold Spring station stands directly across the street from the chapel. This makes the venue an ideal choice for couples who would like their guests to take environmentally friendly transportation to their nuptials. It is also convenient for anyone wanting to get to the venue directly from the city without the hassle of a drive.
Imagining your wedding or event at The Chapel Restoration?
Download images from this article on our Chapel Restoration Web Album made especially for your smartphone. Use it for reference and share with those helping you plan.
Learn more about Chapel Restoration by visiting http://www.chapelrestoration.org/.
To discuss your Chapel Restoration wedding with Duetimage Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers, call (845) 905‑6323 or visit: http://www.duetimage.com/contact.