First Religious Society of Borodino
(Borodino Baptist Church?)
Route 41, Borodino
Town of Spafford
While many churches throughout central New York closed their doors to abolitionists, others began to view slavery as a sin and organized to promote abolitionism. If indeed this is the building in which the Borodino Baptist Church met in 1849, then it represents the many churches throughout central New York who hosted abolitionist lecturers such as Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass published a letter in the North Star (April 13, 1849), in which he noted that he held a “well attended” meeting in the Borodino Methodist church, and on Sunday, he held another in the Baptist church, “equally well attended.”
While the Borodino Methodist Church had organized in 1824, members did not purchase the building in Borodino until 1853, and they did not move it to its current site until after 1860.
The building pictured here was probably built about 1830 by the First Religious Society of Borodino. By 1849, this may have been the Baptist Church in which Douglass spoke. According to Onondaga Landmarks, it was abandoned in 1850 and purchased by the Grange in 1919. In 1902, however, George Knapp Collins printed a photograph of this building labeled “Borodino Town Hall.”
The building is a Federal building with its gable end facing the street. It has a full pediment with a fan, original paneled central doorway with Federal details, four pilasters across a flush board façade, and a square belfry. It stands facing east, across the village green from the Methodist Church.
Collins, George Knapp. Spafford, Onondaga County, New York. 1902. Reprinted
by Syracuse: Onondaga Historical Association, 1917.
Douglass, Frederick. North Star, April 13, 1849.
Onondaga Landmarks: A Survey of Historic and Architectural Sites in Syracuse and Onondaga County (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency, 1975), 100.