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Port Washington 1835 to 1985

People, places and events,   pp. 22-31

Page 27

best serve the needs of the community while of-
fering a ground for Christian worship.
By 1899 the congregation had conducted its
first services in what is now the lower center level
of the building at 131 N. Webster Street.
The upper center level of the building was
dedicated in 1912. Today it is the church sanc-
Other changes have been made to the church
building since that time.
In 1961, the congregation became part of the
United Church of Christ.
Three Catholic families were meeting for mass
at the home of Hans Gengler on Pier Street by
1847. Two years later this number had increased
to 20 families, which prompted Hiram Johnson, a
real estate speculator, to donate two lots high on
the north bluff for a Catholic church. A small
frame building, the first St. Mary's, was erected in
1849; the street fronting the little church was nam-
ed Johnson Street in his honor.
The Irish Catholic families of Port Washington,
residents of the Canada Side of town, built a little
church, St. Stephen's, on Webster and Chestnut
streets. A severe windstorm completely demolish-
ed the church, and the parishioners were gradual-
ly absorbed into St. Mary's congregation.
Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church was
organized by a small group of German speaking
people who met at the home of Jacob Engels in
1854. Their first church was erected in 1857. A
larger church was constructed in 1889, and a
school building was added in 1901. German was
the language used by the church until 1924 when
services in English were approved on a once a
month basis. As a result of denominational
mergers, Friedens is now a member of the United
Church of Christ; Friedens, the German word for
"peace," remains as a reminder of its Germanic
history. The substantial cream-brick structure
located at the corner of Van Buren and Harrison
Streets, houses the second oldest congregation
in the city and has a present communicant
membership of 276.
In 1882 the cornerstone was laid for the present
St. Mary's Church. The Catholic population of the
area had grown to 250 families, creating a need
for a larger place of worship. Much of the con-
struction work was done by parishioners. Farmers
from the area, using horses and oxen, hauled the
limestones from Druecker's Quarry three miles
away on stone boats and farm wagons. The
building was completed two years later and
dedicated in 1884. The four-faced bell-tower
clock, each face being seven feet in diameter, was
donated by the citizens of Port Washington, and
has been keeping time for the community for the
past 100 years.
St. Ambrose Lithuanian Catholic Church,
formerly located on the corner of Montgomery
Street and N. Pierre Lane, was erected in 1909 to
serve the needs of the Lithuanians who settled in
the Port Washington area around the turn of the
century. When the church first opened, men and
women were segregated during services, and a
special pew was reserved for mothers with crying
Friedens United Church of Christ houses
the second oldest congregation in the
city. The church stands at the summit of
the Harrison St. and Van Buren St. hills.
This photograph was taken in 1970.

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