On Sunday, February 14, 1868, Rev. George H. Walsh, D.D., of St. John’s Episcopal Church organized at the home of William Cox on Congress Street, Ida Hill, St. John’s Free Mission.

The meetings of the Mission were first held in a room in a building in the rear of the Ida Hill Cotton Mill. Afterwards, they were held in the building at 326 Congress Street and later in the upper part of the house at 322 Congress Street which was then standing on the present site of St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church.

Franklin W. Farnam and his wife, Jane K. Farnam, members of St. Paul’s became interested in St. John’s Free Mission and became determined to erect an edifice for its use to be called The Free Church of the Ascension.

Construction started on the church in the summer of 1869 at a site on the south side of Congress Street opposite Mt. Ida Falls. The cornerstone of the church was laid by Right Reverend William Croswell Doane, Bishop of Albany on October 19, 1869 and he consecrated the church on February 18, 1871. The tower of the church is one hundred and six feet high and has a chime of nine sweet toned bells made by the West Troy Meneely Bell Company.

In 1997, after the Church of the Ascension was closed for several years, the deed to the church was turned over to the Mount Ida Preservation Association which is repairing the building for use as a community center.

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