STAFF REPORT • Special at www.AllOTSEGO.com
Through research and persistence of SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown graduate program, Hartwick Seminary Evangelical Lutheran Church will be recognized and protected by the New York State Register of Historic Places and nominated to the National Register historic places, according to a press release on Wednesday, September 29.
The church is located on National Highway 28, five miles southwest of Cooperstown, bordered to the east by Cooperstown Dreams Park. Built in 1839, it is Greek Revival in style and, according to Dr. Cynthia Falk, professor in the Cooperstown Graduate Program of SUNY Oneonta, deserves to be preserved because of its social and architectural history.
“The Evangelical Church has been an important part of the landscape of the community that has grown around Hartwick Seminary for over 180 years,” Falk said in a press release. “The changes and additions to the building over time have touched its past. “
Falk said the church maintains its overall historical integrity. It remains the key component of the old Hartwick Seminary, the namesake for the area, which has evolved into Hartwick College at Oneonta.
Falk and his students have been contacted by a member of the church congregation to see if the church can be added to the National Register of Historic Places. She and three Cooperstown Graduate Program students, Emma Dambek, Nick DelDuca, and Anna Minnebo, conducted research during the spring semester of 2021. They studied the history of the Hartwick Church and Seminary in using old newspapers, interviews, published stories and archival documents. They toured the site, took photographs and provided details that were included in a long application to champion the church’s cause for the National Register of Historic Places.
“Service-learning projects like this benefit both the community and the students,” said Falk. “The community will be able to benefit from the historic church for years to come, and students gain hands-on experience that they can apply directly after graduation.” Minnebo has accepted a position as a Preservation Planner for the City of Holland, Michigan.
The church wanted this list to recognize both its history, but also to qualify for a grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program.
The outskirts of Cooperstown have evolved, expanding to serve new roles for the community. “These changes have emanated outward and can be seen around the church,” Falk said. “Despite all the development this stretch of NY-28 has seen, the framework of the Evangelical Lutheran Church with the hills beyond the Susquehanna River towering in the distance remains.”