Salem UCC built in 1883, initially the German Reformed Church, is the oldest surviving religious structure in the area. It was heated by a potbelly stove in the center of the church, and lamps fueled by kerosene, hung from the ceiling for evening worship. A ladder was used to pull down the chandelier to fill or make repairs to the lamps. In 1884, the church bell was molded and first tolled. It still rings today to begin our worship service. We started as one of four churches in the Tannersville Charge, and went through several name changes to eventually become the Salem Reformed Church, then the Salem United Church of Christ, eventually becoming independent.
Historically, to present day, the Women’s groups of Salem UCC have been extremely fundamental in raising funds needed for various church expenses. Throughout the early 1900’s into the 1960’s, electric lights and a hot air furnace were installed. A Sunday School room, Fellowship Hall, running water, kitchen, and bathrooms were added, as surrounding land was donated to the church on several occasions, allowing for the much-needed expansions. A beautiful mural on canvas of Christ in the Garden was placed over the altar in 1947 and remains there today.
This area is rich in history, but many of the wonderful old buildings have gone by the wayside. This small church still stands proud, and this is a big part of what makes this church so special. We value its history, and how it brought so many together, near and far, for many years. At one point, the ‘local’ population decided to reach out to the nearby ‘vacation community’ to welcome new congregants. This was the start of a diverse fellowship which allowed us to thrive and become the caring and welcoming church we are today. That simple concept is carried through today, as we continue to not only reach out to the community for members, but to offer help in so many ways whenever we are able.