A Brief History of Zion Episcopal Church
Andrew Jackson was President of the United States and the first successful run of the “Tom Thumb” steam locomotive had taken place only three years before, when a group of Episcopalians met in October, 1833, to organize a parish church in Dobbs Ferry. Oscar Irving, a nephew of Washington Irving, was instrumental in organizing the new church and his signature appears on the original minutes.
Another prominent American family that played an important role in the early years, were the sons of Alexander Hamilton, James and Alexander Jr. The Hamilton brothers both served on the vestry from 1843-1853 and were generous in their support of the parish.
Zion’s location was largely determined by Van Brugh Livingston’s offer of the site it occupies today. The church was incorporated on October 31, 1833 . The Rev. A.N. Crosby, Rector of St John’s, Getty Square, became the first Rector. The small church building on the hill overlooking the Hudson was dedicated on May 20, 1834 . Click here for more information about the enlargement of the church and for information on the rectory and parish house.
In 1836, the Rev. William Creighton, a close friend of Washington Irving, was named Rector. From this date until 1843, the author and diplomat served as a Vestryman of Zion Church, and was a frequent representative at Diocesan Conventions.
After the First World War, a bell commemorating those who served in the armed forces from Dobbs Ferry was placed in the church tower. It still tolls each Memorial Day to honor those who have served in our country's armed services. Zion was also the site of one of the first ordinations of a woman to the priesthood in 1977 and has continued to be a witness to justice and peace.
Zion is surrounded by two acres of beautiful grounds and gardens, including a garden given in memory of one of its members, Michael Lepore, who was killed in the attack of September 11, 2001.
In its rich history, Zion is a link to the faith and community of our past and yet remains a sign of God's presence and hope to all who admire its beauty and grace.