The Upstater: Churches for Sale in Upstate New York

Think of the real estate blog Upstater as Brownstoner for the Catskills and Hudson Valley. We’re combing the counties south of Albany, east of Connecticut and west of the PA border for upstate New York real estate that has a special appeal to New Yorkers (especially because you can buy an entire farm house for the price of a studio apartment in Brooklyn). From now on, we’ll be sharing some of our finds in a weekly column here on Brownstoner, and for our debut column we took a look at churches for sale north of New York City. One is a converted chapel, ready for roosting. The others are waiting to be reinvented as residences.

2847 Atlantic Avenue in the tiny hamlet of Stottville, NY, just outside of Hudson, is the cream of this week’s crop. Beautifully renovated, already fully converted to residential but with many of the most impressive church elements preserved.

Lots more on the jump…

The steeple has been opened up so you can peer all the way into it, and the three bedrooms carved into the space that was once the altar. Should make for some sound sleep. $350,000. GMAP.

We wrote this Claverack church up a few weeks ago, and we still think it’s full of potential. Though not yet ready for residence, it’s been plumbed and wired, and someone with keen design sense could make it a beautiful home or live/work space.

139 Main Street is in the super cool little hamlet of Philmont, which has a delicious restaurant, sweet bookstore and swimmable lake, among other attractions. Overpriced (we think) at $359,000. GMAP.

Okay, you might not call Putnam Valley upstate, but it’s rural enough to count as country for these purposes, and this was once a sweet little country church.

The stained glass windows aren’t as beautiful in 729 Peekskill Hollow Road as they are in some other churches, and this place is not yet converted to residential use, but it does have some beautiful woodwork. All the furnishings will be removed, so it’s your blank canvas to play with. $295,000. GMAP.

If you want to start a school, or maybe a cult, 107 West Main Street in Walden might be the property for you. It even comes with a rectory so you can use the church itself, with its stunning cathedral ceilings, for whatever you want. $449,000. GMAP.


21 Comment

  • Stottville – want!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s perfect.

  • Greeeeaaaaatt… let’s spike real estate costs up the river now.

    It’s like Oregon in the 90s: douche-ey Californios land-grabbing left and right, paying asking prices because they seem so cheap and sending Comps through the roof so locals get priced out.

    What an awesome tradition to propagate outwards from the City.

  • *SOB!!!!!!!!!!!* Want want want.

  • *SOB!!!!!!!!!!!* Want want want.

  • MM, I agree it is perfect, down to the kitty.

  • I want Walden. With the benches. A cult could be fun.

    Seriously though, it’s sort of sad, seeing churches for sale. It’s like watching a hundred years of a community vanish. These are public spaces and a part of me thinks they should always be so. It’s not about a specific religion, or even one at all–I just think we have precious few public spaces these days that aren’t built to be shopping malls.

  • more like watching a hundred years of homophobia and sexism vanish? good riddance to churches and churchgoers.

  • more like watching a hundred years of homophobia and sexism vanish? good riddance to churches and churchgoers.

  • Great volumes, exciting to contemplate the kinds of living spaces they could become, but I wonder (aside from the practicalities, like how much would they cost to heat)…. wouldn’t you have weird dreams in them??

  • Great volumes, exciting to contemplate the kinds of living spaces they could become, but I wonder (aside from the practicalities, like how much would they cost to heat)…. wouldn’t you have weird dreams in them??

  • There’s a lot more to church than homophobia and sexism, duck. I’m sorry that hasn’t been your experience.

    I’m not religious, did I mention that? And I think most religions are fairly nuts and many of them need a time out until they learn to play well with others. However, a church in a community is a lot more than whatever doctrine gets preached there on Sundays. It’s youth groups, community meetings, charitable good works, etc. Getting that replaced with a Wolff stove and some cararra marble shelving is sort of sad.

  • Bryanx, it’s great that Brownstoner now controls all the real estate prices from here to Katonah. Mr. B, can we get a kickback on that?

    True, Heather, about public space being mostly commercial now. It’s not so bad in California. They have mountains to climb there and community centers. Churches aren’t public though.

    I knew an artist who lived by himself in a church. It was unaltered, except for the removal of the pews. The sanctuary served as the living room and painting studio.

  • does Jesus pay for the heat? Cause jeezus it’s gonna cost a crapload.

  • Heather, I understand what you mean, and I agree. A church is more than Sunday services and doctrine. In many communities it is a generational lifeline, and a gathering place for everything from Girl Scouts to disaster relief.

    Also, churches represent those who built them, the people who gave their last dime for the church fund, the artisans who created it, etc. All for the glory of God, whether later people believe or not.

    I’d rather see the building standing as a home, Wolff and all, then destroyed because it’s no longer needed. I’ve always wanted to live in an old church, a nice smallish one with lots of stained glass and Gothic details. I’d be quite happy.

  • When did the Upstater launch? I’m scrolling back through weeks of posts. It would be great to be able to access the archives by month.

  • The churches sell the older historic buildings because they’re much too expensive for a small congregation to renovate and maintain. Look at the Old First church in Park Slope having to stop services because the interior ceiling is falling. These churches are not for sale because the whole town is turning atheist. There are some silly comments here about that. They’re instead moving into ugly contemporary buildings the construction of which aren’t really something to celebrate. And Heather is right about the churches being a community gathering place in smaller, rural towns. But you have to actually have some experience with life in rural America to know that. My mother’s family were farmers and ranchers living on isolated, large properties and going to church was their time each week to be with other families. It’s also beneficial to the elderly who do not have family living nearby. My grandparents in TN belonged to a little church whose pastor would call or stop by to check on them and if there were ever a Sunday they weren’t at church somebody would have worried and gone to their house.

  • and all of them are still available and I could add to this list but I wont. they are all over priced and as stated by other commenters it pushes locals out by destroying comps.

  • ps the Claverack one is Philmont to be specific. sat on the market for 3 years til it sold for 125 and now its 350 in an inbred, upstate racist backwoods village where people swerve to hit animals and marry their cousins. c’mon upstate y’all

  • Hi
    I have a BEAUTIFUL CHURCH FOR SALE in the Catskills- only 90 miles from Manhattan!
    see my ad on Brownster
    only 99K , with a bit of work it can be better than the churches shown above! it is a great investment!
    here is the link: