St. Mary’s Church, founded in 1865, celebrated its 140 th anniversary in 2005. One of the Church’s principal founders and first warden was Lt. Col. Benjamin C. Butler (1820-1887), an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Col. Butler owned The Wayside Inn, a large resort hotel in Lake Luzerne. Legend has it that on one of the battlefields during the war Colonel Butler made an oath to God that if he survived the war, he would help build a church. He survived, and shortly after returning home from the war he was faithful to his pledge by helping to establish St. Mary’s.
The church building itself was designed by Jacob Wray Mould, a famous 19th century architect. The cornerstone was laid on August 25, 1874. The main building was completed the following year. The basic architectural style of the building is known as Anglo-Swiss which is characterized by simple fieldstone walls and a steep angular style slate and metal roof. The interior of the building is adorned with wooden beams and stained glass windows. One window of particular historic interest is the Civil War Memorial Window. Given to the Church by the townspeople of Luzerne and Hadley, this memorial window honors both the local men who fought and those many men who died during the Civil War. The window was dedicated on Decoration Day, May 30, 1877.
In somewhat recent history, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, who served as the rector of St. Mary’s for fourteen years in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, was consecrated and currently serves as the ninth Diocesan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.