Cragsmoor Stone Church - Interior
November 6, 2010
When I took pictures of the Cragsmoor Stone Church a few weeks ago, I e-mailed the church saying the church was welcome to use them. After seeing the pictures, the church’s administrator (not really sure what to call him) replied saying I should come back, take interior shots, and make sure I make it all the way to the altar because of the two stained glass windows there on either side.

Needless to say, I was excited. I normally would not step on the altar floor but here I was just given permission to shoot a beautiful and historic church. It was an opportunity impossible to resist. So when our son took his SAT at the nearby Pine Bush High School the following weekend, I used it as an excuse to stop by before picking him up and take interior shots of the Cragsmoor Stone Church.

Inside it was beautiful. In the church’s dark interior of mostly gray stone walls and wooden beams and panels, the long red carpet in the center aisle drew my vision toward the altar where colored slabs of light came filtering in through a stained glass window and landed gently and diagonally across the floor. It was a picture-perfect scene of peace and tranquility.

I began taking pictures making my way from the back to the front. When I was about done, I realized my camera was set incorrectly -- at ISO 200 instead of 100 -- so I had to re-shoot most of my shots for better images. I ended up spending more time than I intended. I had permission to take all the pictures I wanted but, still, I didn’t want to overindulge.

When I came out a white car was parked outside with an old woman slumped in the backseat. A man that appeared to be her chauffeur based on his straight back posture sat in the driver seat. I couldn’t make out if there was a third person on the front passenger seat. In any case, they all sat very still and as far as I can tell didn’t look in my direction while I walked around some more taking exterior shots of the church.

I can’t help but wonder if the woman in the car was the church’s owner, or perhaps a descendant of the late Eliza G. Hartshorn, originally of Rhode Island, the woman who had the church built in 1897, alerted of my presence and came to make sure I was not a vandal.

In retrospect, though, I think it’s just paranoia on my part because I felt I spent too much time inside -- more than 30 minutes -- unsupervised. It was a beautiful church on a beautiful day on a beautiful mountaintop and photographing the place to my heart’s content was just a bit too overwhelming. In the church’s e-mail, the administrator said photographs have been taken of the church for the past 100 years but none were as good as mine. I wanted to think I was worthy of praise but I knew that after 100 years, maybe the best tools in photography have finally arrived.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
The Church of the Holy Name “does not have a membership or ongoing ministry of pastoral care. What it does have is a dedicated nonsectarian group of volunteers operating as the Friends of the Stone Church...” (source:,
Window left of altar.
Window right of altar.
Nave seen from the altar.
Rose window.
This window faces you as you enter through the front door. It contains “symbols from eight of the world's major religions, from Christianity and Islam to Buddhism and Native American faiths.” The window represents the prophet Isaiah’s message, “For my house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)
Pews seen from the back with the window showing eight religious symbols on the left.
Plaques on the rear wall. The top plaque reads:

This Chapel is dedicated
to the Glory of God 
and in remembrance of 
Eliza Gardiner Hartshorn, 
entered into life everlasting 
September 16, 1916, aged 85
Of your charity pray for her soul
View of the Shawangunk Ridge from the Stone Arch. At six weeks into fall, most of the leaves are gone.
Resting places.
On the left:
Wife of Rev. Martin Albert
184? - 1904

On the right:

Martin Albert
Priest of God
Three vehicles -- a commercial van followed by two cars -- pulled in while I was taking exterior photos. License plates were all New Jersey. I'd say the vehicles hadn't come yet to a full stop when people of all ages -- from the 50s to teens, I'd say -- started pouring out and headed fast toward the stone arch. Just before they left I asked if they were going to Sam's Point. What looked to me like a dad in dark sunglasses said, “Yeah” with a big grin. I then gave them a little info about the church to take with them.

I didn’t know yet then that the church door was unlocked -- it didn’t budge the first time I tugged.
Peace Pole with inscriptions in 8 languages that say,
Church of the Holy Name.
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