Woodside – Troy, New York - Atlas Obscura

Woodside

A man used his Civil War-era fortune to build this sanctuary in memory of his wife. 

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The Woodside Church and Chapel are all that remain of the Victorian Upper Works of the Burden Iron Company. Built in 1868 and designed by Henry Dudley, a prominent English church architect, the church and chapel were constructed atop a hill looming over the Hudson River in Troy, New York, in memory of Henry Burden’s wife.

These gorgeous Victorian structures are not only an homage to Burden’s beloved, but a symbol of reconciliation. The Burden Iron Company and Corning’s Albany Iron Works had been feuding for years; however, the church and chapel are built on Erastus Corning’s land. The stone church was paid for by the wealth Burden had accumulated (his company had produced one million horseshoes a week during the Civil War). The church recorded births, deaths, and marriages alike and became a social gathering for those in Troy.

The church was last used by the Presbyterian congregation in 2003. Almost destroyed by a wrecking ball around 2007, the church and chapel were saved and placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In 2009, a residency program for artists was opened after renovations were completed. The second round of renovations was completed in 2014, followed by a grand opening of the Exhibition and Performance Center in 2015.

Know Before You Go

The building is on private property and is open to the public only in summer months through art exhibitions and events. Groundskeepers live on site and the chapel is a living quarter for resident artists. Contact them in advance and you may be able to convince them for a private tour of the old bell tower.