Q. Most churches have collection plates; the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton has collection boxes, why?
-A Curious Churchgoer
A. Great question Curious Church Goer. As we are a community that loves our history, there is quite a story behind the collection boxes. When the church was reconstructed in the early 1960’s, and redesigned from a two steeple church to its current one center steeple design, a church member was motivated to donate a treasured possession. The member was local builder Frank Eldredge (1885-1965). In his obituary, Frank was reported to be an expert on Long Island History especially East Hampton buildings. He was a charter member of the East Hampton Historical Society. A lifelong member of the church, Frank was an Elder on the Session for 27 years and taught Sunday School. He presented the church with some old wood, but not just any wood. It was wood from the first church building constructed in 1651 near the South End Cemetery; wood from the second church constructed in 1717 that stood near where the Guild Hall is today; and wood from the church on our current site constructed in 1861. With help from Courtland Mulford, and George Schulte, Frank constructed the offering boxes from this wood, as a gift for the newly reconstructed 1961 church. The design of the boxes was copied from two original collection boxes of the 1717 church. One box is in the collection of the East Hampton Historical Society, the other was in the private collection of Mrs. Raymond A. Smith, Sr., at the time.