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Historic Ellessdie Chapel Gets Refresh at Bowdoin Park
Spring 'Chapel Days' to Highlight Space with Local Music

Published: 5/7/2021

For More Information Contact:

Sandy Washburn, Director

Dutchess County Parks Division

Poughkeepsie... County Executive Marc Molinaro, joined by local leaders and Dutchess County Parks staff, recently celebrated the recent refurbishment of the interior of the historic Ellessdie Chapel and its newly painted interior at Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie with a ceremonial rededication and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The interior of the Chapel has been repainted by Dutchess County Parks staff, including fine detail painting of the Chapel's original windows. Other renovations included repairing pews and repurposing kneelers to make a new cross. Park Maintenance Mechanic Mike Cooper led the charge on much of the renovation, which took place over the fall and winter months.

Park visitors can visit the bright and airy Chapel interior and enjoy music samples recorded by favorite local orchestras during "Spring Chapel Days" in May. The recorded music will be piped into the park from 3-5pm on three Saturdays in May and visitors are invited to stroll the park while listening to Hudson Valley favorites on featured days:

  • May 8th - Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra
  • May 15th - Hudson Valley Philharmonic
  • May 22nd - Strawberry Hill Fiddlers & Stringendo

County Executive Molinaro said, "Our parks have a lot to offer—from beautiful views and great trails to rich local history like that of this historic Chapel. We are grateful to our community collaborators and dedicated Parks staff for their hard work and commitment to preserving and finding new uses for this space so park goers can continue to enjoy it for years to come."

The Ellessdie Chapel was originally built in 1840 by devout Presbyterians, the Lenox family, who, at the time, owned the land on which Bowdoin Park now sits.

The Chapel's name is a combination of the Lenox siblings—James Lenox with his sisters, Mary Lenox Sheafe and Althea Lenox Donaldson, and their husbands. The families named the chapel Ellessdie by combining the first initials of their last names (L for Lenox, S for Sheafe, and D for Donaldson) phonetically.

In 1901, the chapel was dismantled and moved to the grounds of New Hackensack Church on Route 376 near what is now the Hudson Valley Regional Airport in the Town of Wappinger to be used for the church's Sunday School program. However, as aviation technology improved and flight traffic to the airport increased, the chapel's height made it a hazard to aircraft traffic.

To preserve the historic structure, the Chapel was dismantled a second time and brought back to Bowdoin Park in 1996 by Dutchess County Government and is now located at the entrance to the park, approximately 1,000 feet from its original location.

Today the Ellessdie Chapel welcomes visitors to Bowdoin Park and has been the site of numerous wedding ceremonies, celebrations, and other gatherings. For more information about event rental, visit Dutchess County Parks' rental facilities at Bowdoin Park online.