Moved from Covington St., Perry NY circa 2006
Partial View of Campus Layout:
Left--Cabin; Center--Church; Right--School
January 3, 2017
In 1983, Koinonia Inn was built as the new year round dining and meeting space.
|Used from 1873-1887|
|Used from 1888-1918|
The 'Hall of Philosophy,' originally a two-story building with all classrooms, built in 1889 (see sketch at left), was given a brand new first floor, raising up the existing two stories and adding a dining room, kitchen, and large meeting room to the first floor (see photo at right). The upper floors became more useful as overnight rooms. After only about 8 years of use, it fell into foreclosure in 1897 and changed hands and purposes several times within a 22-year span, before being returned to the Institute in 1919 and becoming the Epworth Inn.
|Used from 1944-2006|
After more than two years of negotiations beginning in 1957, the campus area, by legal agreement, while remaining within the Institute boundaries, became the property of the former Genesee Annual Conference in 1959. A second legal agreement negotiated over a three year period between the Institute's Legal Committee and the Upper NY Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church's Trustees, was confirmed in the State Supreme Court at Warsaw NY in February of 2016 that the Institute would relinquish the campus area as part of the Institute grounds, establishing two legally and structurally independent entities.
Today Epworth is limited by a lack of fire escapes for the second floor, so local fire codes restrict its use to 275 audience members mainly seated on comfortable first floor chairs, recently donated by the Kraft family in Loving Memory of former resident, Mrs. Lorraine Kraft.
OFFICE, GARAGE & MAINTENANCE SHOP
Having gone with the national trend of the United Methodist Church of legally separating itself from heretofore "Methodist Groups" (hospitals, nursing homes, institutes) for insurance and liability purposes, it became necessary for the Institute to build its own Office, Garage & Maintenance Shop. This concrete block building was put up circa 1959 to accommodate the Institute's lawn and street equipment along with a capacity to make some of its own repairs. The Office and Lavatory were at the far west end of the building and didn't need to be very large since most of the work being done was by volunteers who worked out of their cottages and other permanent homes. Currently the office maintains telephone and answering service, DSL for internet service, copying and printing capabilities, and limited file storage. It is staffed Mondays from 3 to 5 pm to sell garage stickers.
|SLI's Big Blue Dock preceded by the flag garden, the brick |
Heritage Walkway, and the Arbor representing
an original 1870's ticket gate structure.
The Institute's Blue Dock, located at Lakeview and Wesley Avenues, has always been a centering location for rest, relaxation, meditation, "Dessert on the Dock," and appreciation of the Institute and its beautiful location on the Lake Front. From Lakeview Avenue, Wesley Avenue takes off eastward toward the other end of the property, passing the beloved Post Office and the Office/Garage/Maintenance building, all of which are accessible from Wesley Avenue. The Dock area can be seen all the way from the distant Wesley Avenue and Thompson Avenue intersection at the other end of the developed section of Institute property.
|September 2013 Service of Dedication.|
develop a walkway made up of memorial bricks that would artistically connect Lakeview Avenue with the Blue Dock. Today, the "Heritage Walkway," containing many names of Institute families and individuals make up this attractive and symbolic walkway which detours around the American Flag Garden and Memorial Plaque. Near the beginning of the walkway is a Arbor reminiscent of the much, much larger archway which originally served as the ticket gate closest to the railroad, sometimes referred to as the first railroad station (based on a mislabeled photo from 1875). The current archway is bordered by two stone flower beds on either side, creating a welcoming and beautiful starting point for this newly beloved memorial. The Heritage Walkway was dedicated in September of 2013 in an outdoor service on the Green next to the walkway.
BISHOP BURT PARK
This large, green area is the center of the Institute, and probably the second best known and recognized after Epworth Hall. It originally was the land upon which the exceptionally modern Amphi-theatre or Auditorium was built. This first, real building (having not only floors and a roof, but also walls), accommodated 2,000 audience guests with room for a 500-voice choir in the front "on stage." It was built in 1888 and completed in time for the 1888 Season. Its design was nationally noted since there were only two of its kind built--both in NY State--one downstate and one in Western NY at Silver Lake. Its uniqueness evolved around the absence of poles blocking parts of the audience vision. The rounded beams allowed for the weight of the ceiling to be held up at the sides and out of the visual line of sight of the audience. It alone permitted the Institute to accommodate very large numbers at their preaching, teaching, performance and entertainment services. Its loss to fire after a thorough refurbishing in 1918 was a serious blow to the Institute community and forever changed the ultimate future of the Institute's programs. So this Park is held in a certain amount of reverence to a time of spectacular suc-cess--one which could never be duplicated again--at least in terms of numbers between one and two thousand and choirs of 500.
Prior to 1950, all roads within the Institute were still of the design of unpaved footpaths with just enough room for one horse and wagon at a time. Following WWII, returning troops began demanding quality interstate highways such as they had enjoyed in Europe. One of those returning troopers was General Dwight D. Eisenhower who became President of the United States and went about making the highway-expressway dream come true for the exploding market for family automobiles. As use of cars increased, use of passenger trains decreased and no where was this felt more than at the Institute where train travel also rapidly decreased and road traffic was trying to increase, but found it difficult to do with the Institute's 19th Century roads.
In a forward looking move by the Institute Trustees, a plan was put into place whereby the size of Perry Avenue between Camp Road and Bishop Burt Park would be widened and extended over to Chapman Avenue, as the Institute's first and only public road. In planning this road, there were two things the Trustees of the early 1950s set out to avoid. The first was to avoid splitting the Park in half with a dividing line of traffic. The second was to avoid destroying the residential and historical nature of the main, yet narrow footpath known as Ames Avenue, still heavily in use. These things were not at all difficult to avoid. Thompson Avenue and Janes Avenue already connected Camp Road with Chapman, albeit both being one-lane roads. At that time there were no other roads that connected Camp with Chapman directly; nothing resembling a thoroughfare, just private residential "one-laners" in a heavily residential area on the western side of the Institute.
The choice of a curved extension of old Perry Avenue (which originally ended at Embury) paved around the western-most section of Burt Park was a fairly logical choice. This left Park Avenue untouched, except for some added parking spaces along Park Avenue and a few parking spaces along the new, short, curved section of Embury Avenue in front of Stoody Hall. Bishop Burke Park was not split in two and maintained most of its size and character.
Once the new extension of old Perry Avenue transversed Burt Park, it created an intersection at Genesee Avenue and very close to Kingsley Avenue. At that point, to the immediate west of Kingsley was an abandoned and looted old cottage which the Institute bought, tore down, and by so doing, made the new width of Kingsley (without the cottage there) acceptable for the connection of the new Perry Avenue extension and widening of the rest of Kingsley. Since there were private properties over at Chapman's north side, the old Kingsley Avenue already had a curve built into it in order to bypass the private properties. The old Ames Avenue location, as it came out on Chapman, was too close to the private property which included a cottage, to meet the Town and County standards for public roadways.This Kingsley curve was therefore made to cross the last section of Ames Avenue which then caused it to be far enough from the private property lines and entered Chapman about a car length to the east of old Ames Avenue. That last little section of old Ames Avenue was given over to the private property as a driveway which is used to this day as such (2017).
This was the amazing solution to putting through a public road. The entire newly-built Perry Avenue extension from Embury Ave. to Chapman Ave. was now renamed simply, "Perry Avenue" from Camp Road to Chapman Avenue. While Ames Avenue used to end at a four-way intersection crossing Chapman and entering the campus area of the Institute directly (see below, right), the widening and paving over of Ames also created a slight curve away from that intersection, creating instead two T-intersections (see below, left):