St. Luke’s Church in it’s present location and it’s past location as St. Anna’s church, has been an integral part of the history of the Mid Hudson area since before the American Revolution. The traditions of the past have been preserved in the worship of the Church to this day. The Parish was active in the life of the villages of Matteawan and Fishkill Landing that became the City of Beacon, and continues to do so today.
In early 1832 the Teller sisters, Hannah, Caroline and Margaret began giving instruction in Christian education to the children of the area at the Teller house, now known as the Madam Brett Homestead.. The only other Episcopal church in southern Duchess County was Trinity, Fishkill, which meant difficulty in travel for local residents. The adults in the area began meeting in a dry goods store owned by John Conly. By the end of 1832, the congregation had grown to the size for the organization of a parish. In 1833, St. Anna’s Church was incorporated and the cornerstone for the church was laid at the site that is presently at the southeasterly corner of Main Street and Tioronda Avenue, on land donated by Isaac Teller.
St. Anna’s was constructed of brick and featured a portico in the Grecian style, featuring 6 columns. The reading desk stretched across the chancel. A larger, taller pulpit was built above it. The communion table was in front of the reading desk. In 1834, St. Anna’s acquired it’s first burial ground, on land donated by Henry Churchill. After some time, what was then Tioronda Avenue was made the railroad right of way, and, unfortunately, St. Anna’s was allowed to fall into disrepair.
On January 1, 1863, Mr. Charles M. Wolcott made a gift to the church of six acres of land adjacent to the St. Anna’s burial ground. On May 15, 1866, Mr. Henry E. Davies donated an additional 6 acres of land adjacent to the 2 parcels fronting on Wolcott Avenue to make up what is now the 12+ acres of land St. Luke’s is situated on. Plans for the structure. were prepared by Frederick C. Withers of New York and groundbreaking was held on August 10, 1868.
That same year, St. Anna’s assumed the name St. Luke’s Church, Matteawan and adopted as it’s official seal what you see represented above. At that time the original church building was sold to the Methodist Church and the original Rectory was sold to Lewis Tompkins. On December 15, 1869 the church bell was rung for the first time, not only at St. Luke’s, but as the first church bell in Matteawan. The first service in the new building was held on June 9, 1870 officiated by the Bishop and assisted by most of the clergy of the county.
The Rectory was constructed on the property in 1869 and 1870, but was destroyed by fire in 1887. The current Rectory was built shortly thereafter as an almost exact copy of the original. A schoolhouse of frame construction was built in 1870, just north of the present Parish House. Originally it was used by the Sunday School and various other parish organizations, but it’s facilities were limited. In 1892 construction began on what is the main structure of the current Parish House. The original plan called for a large building in the shape of a cross, but insufficient funds restricted the size and shape. In 1963, the Great Hall was built as an addition to the Parish House, thus bringing to reality the shape of the cross sought by the original planners.
Beginning in 1870, St. Luke’s became involved with the early history of St. Andrew’s. At that time, Sunday School in Fishkill Landing was held over the First National Bank and the Teacher’s Association of Fishkill Landing was formed. In 1875 the sessions were moved to the DeWindt Street Chapel . In 1894 the Sunday School Association purchased what is now the current Parish House for St. Andrew’s Church. From 1875 until the parish was organized at St. Andrew’s in 1899, the various rectors of St. Luke’s Church ensured and directed the regular services at both the DeWindt Street Chapel and South Avenue building.
Over the years, the original carpeting in the chancel and aisles was replaced by mosaics, village water was piped in, electric lights were installed, a steam heating system installed and the original wooden altar replaced by a marble one. Additionally, extra choir stalls were added to the chancel area and kneeling benches were added to all of the pews.