The Historical Committee of the Old Whalers’ First Presbyterian Church on Union Street in Sag Harbor will sponsor a free “Discover Old Whalers’ Day” on Sunday, May 18. The tour will begin at 11:45 a.m. in the church narthex, just inside the main front doors.
A member of the committee will give a brief, informal talk about the building, built in 1844, and the sanctuary, including the trompe l’oeil mural that covers the wall behind the pulpit. The mural will soon be restored to its original design and colors by International Fine Arts Conservation Studios, with work beginning on May 26. The tour will afford one of the last opportunities to view the “before” state of the mural.
Pastor Mark Phillips will give a short talk about the historic organ built by Henry Erben in 1845. The pipes and bellows inside the organ case can be viewed, as well as the manual pumping system, which permits the organ to be played without electricity, if necessary. The tour will culminate with a climb into the tower to see the huge wooden trusses which support the sanctuary ceiling, with initials carved into beams by some of those who constructed the church.
The Old Whalers’ Church, designed by Minard Lefever, is a National Historic Landmark. This event is part of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s annual Sacred Sites Open House weekend. The tour will conclude by 1 p.m., but the building will remain open to the public until 2 p.m.