History

Since 1824: The History of our Faith Community

The history of Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church parallels the history of the Town of Guilderland, in which we are located. In 1797, there was an active congregation and a church building on our site, and an octagon-shaped building served as a church school. Hamilton Union Church was formally established in 1824, and in 1825 our first minister was hired at a salary of $200 per year. We believe the “Union” in “Hamilton Union” came from the fact that the church was interdenominational in its early years.

Hamilton Union Church is located in what was known (until the second half of the 20th century) as the hamlet of Hamilton in the Town of Guilderland. In 1785, a glass manufacturing plant was established near today’s church site. In 1796, the name of the immediate area was changed from Dowesburgh to Hamilton in honor of Alexander Hamilton. The Great Western Turnpike (now Route 20 or Western Avenue) was built in 1799, and by 1813 the Hamilton area had 56 houses, stores, and 3 glass factories. In 1815 the glass factories closed, and in 1825 the Erie Canal was built nearby, which resulted in less traffic on the Great Western Turnpike.

Hamilton Union Church in its early years. Today’s Doug and Patti Gray Education Building (now attached at the right) had not yet been built.
Today, the area surrounding Hamilton Union Church is a suburban area in the Town of Guilderland, about 15 miles from downtown Albany. The Guilderland Library, YMCA and various shopping centers are all within a mile of the church. The Pine Bush Preserve is in our backyard (right and upper right of aerial photo).
Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church as it appears today.