ONE DISTINCT CHARACTERISTIC of Hudson River towns is the almost invariable presence of the Dutch Reformed Church, a living remnant of the region's period of Dutch rule, which ended in 1664. Though Nassau wasn't settled until later, the town's Reformed church was one of the most prominent buildings in the village, indicative of its association with the Hudson Valley's oldest institution. I photographed the building in June of 2001. About six months later I called up the town historian to see what I could find out about its history. "Oh, the old Reformed Church," she said. "They tore that place down last summer."

SITUATED on Church Street, the building was erected in 1903 to replace an earlier structure. The church served its congregation for nearly 90 years, when the need for costly repairs were cited as cause to abandon it. Despite its designation as a local landmark, recognition on the National Register of Historic Places, and an outcry from local preservationists, church officials succeeded in having the building demolished in 2001. I'm told its stained glass windows can be found in a restaurant in Albany.

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© T.E. Rinaldi, 2006