Trinity Episcopal Church, Potsdam, NY


Carolyn amd Jim were married here, with Paul Zieske as Best Man and Joann Ferrance as Maid of Honor. Reverend Thurston Travis officiated.

The church is on the National Register of Historic Places, but that's not why they chose it for their marriage. Jim liked to walk in those days. His frequent companion was Paul Zieske. On one of their walks they stopped in at the church, which is on an island in the middle of the Racquette River in Potsdam. The large Mogen David on the wall behind the altar made a great impression on Jim. He later said, "I'd never seen a Christian church before that was willing to admit in public that Jesus was a Jew."

Many years later, Carolyn and Jim took a vacation, driving through the North country and into Canada. They stopped in Potsdam for some nostalgic sight- seeing. Naturally, one of the highlights of the stop was to visit Trinity once more. A turn around the building revealed an open door and a number of church ladies within doing church lady things. One of them approached, saying, "Are you here to see the windows?"

"Windows? What windows?"

Neither Carolyn nor Jim had noticed anything special about the windows on their previous visit. They had other things on their minds.

The nice lady came up with a pamphlet that explains the whole thing. Now, years later, you can read all about it on the web, here.

The short version is, from the earliest days of Trinity Church, the Clarkson family belonged to it, and suppported it generously. The church itself, was built of Potsdam sandstone from the Clarkson quarries, as were many oher buildings in the area. As the family, the town, and the church prospered, the Clarksons contributed money, land, time, and even major parts of the building. Between 1895 and 1929, as beloved members of the church passed away, their lives and service were memorialized by the installation of stained-glass windows. During this period the premier source of stained glass art was the studio of Louis Comfort Tiiffany.

For the long version, go here.