Plymouth Congregational Church was completed in 1859. Architect Horatio N. White was commissioned to design the church to replace a one-room wooden chapel on the site that he also designed. It derived its name from Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, whose pastor, Henry Ward Beecher, was active in the anti-slavery effort.
The congregation at Plymouth led the Syracuse abolitionist movement and the church became a key station on the Underground Railroad. In 1907, the steeple was removed after being badly weakened by gale-force winds. Four turrets were also removed, leaving the elegant church with its cross and crown windows above the porches of the west façade.Read More
While standing outside of the Plymouth Congregational Church, one notices the exterior sign which ties the church to Plymouth Rock and the original settlers of our country. A long-term member of the church, whose father was minister at Plymouth between 1922 and 1939, stated that the sign was erected during the minister’s tenure. According to the member, her father had previously served a church in Maine and that he was "taken with New England" and was influential in the sign's design.
According to Rev. Quinn G. Caldwell, “When the Pilgrims and Puritans arrived in what would become Plymouth colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, respectively, they were able to found churches that followed precisely the religious ideals they had developed back home in Europe, and which they had had trouble creating there because of the existing religious traditions. These congregations were fiercely independent of each other, partly because communication between settlements was slow and difficult, and partly because they’d had quite enough of highly connected and hierarchical church structures back home. Over time, this method of church organization—loosely connected but completely autonomous congregations with no bishops or other hierarchy—came to be known as Congregationalism.
As settlers moved westward and founded Congregational churches as they went, they often called those churches “Plymouth” or “Pilgrim” in honor of those first churches back in Massachusetts. So you’ll often find a Pilgrim Congregational Church in a place no Pilgrim ever set foot, like Duluth, Green Bay, Redding, CA and more. And, of course, Plymouth Congregational Church in Syracuse, NY. The sign out front is a nod to our forebears in the faith—though of course we’ve loosened up a lot since then!”