The First Presbyterian Church of Dundee had an unknown future when the congregation dissolved at the end of 2017 and the physical building was listed for sale.
Dundee business owner Sam Morse plans to bring new life to the historic building by using the space as an event center.
Morse closed on the property in October and has since worked with the village to change the zoning for use by his business. Final approval was received, Wednesday, Jan. 9. However, given that the center will be hosting both weddings and life celebrations along with other community gatherings, its use will channel the building's original purpose as a church.
"It is exciting to be able to finally get in the church and start having events," said Morse. "It has been a long process to get us to this point, but I am excited to help preserve the legacy of the historic building."
The church, as it stands today, is actually the fourth building at the location, now 31 Main St. It was built in 1894 after the previous structure was decimated by a fire. In 2004, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building's Romanesque architecture includes two towers, one featuring a New York made Meneely Church Bell.
Morse's business, Winner's Circle Deli, across the street from the church, will provide catering services for events at the church building.
"We have always catered at other venues, but now we will be able to take care of celebrations from beginning to end," said Morse. "Our friends on Facebook voted to name the venue location (Winner's Circle Event Center), and we hope to get additional feedback from the community about musical performances, plays or other activities we could host to bring more people to Dundee."
The church building will largely remain unchanged, with the pews gracing the sanctuary that includes a large pipe organ. There is also a dining area on the first floor and three individual rooms which can be divided from the main space. Historic stained glass windows can be seen throughout the sanctuary.
"This is a building for the community," remarked Morse. "Main Street is such an important part of any village, and we have already booked our first private event at the center. There will be a number of public events coming up in February for the community to once again see and use the building."
More information about upcoming events can be seen at the Facebook page of the event center: www.facebook.com/Winners-Circle-Event-Center-2254608554827591 or by calling 607-243-9600.