A Rochester anchor, Seventh-day Adventist Church dates back to the 1800s

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — History is still alive for a Rochester church that was destroyed by a fiery blaze.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has roots in the city that date back to the 1800’s and has been an anchor in the neighborhood.

The church building on Jefferson Avenue dates back to 1870. It was built as an Episcopal church with a gothic revival design.

Cynthia Howk, who has worked with the Landmark Society of Western New York for many years, says the church had an outreach mission from the day it was built.

"This was a small outreach mission and then became its own episcopal congregation. They were an important part of the neighborhood as outreach, but many of the members moved to the suburbs. That Episcopal congregation still exists…they’re out on Buffalo Road, it’s still called Church of the Epiphany," Howk explained.

The church’s current Seventh-day Adventist congregation bought the building in 1960.

"They’ve been there for 51 years and so important to be an anchor. A house of worship is more than a place of worship,” Howk said.

The church building’s elaborate structure and architecture weren’t its only treasure. It also made a joyful noise with an iconic pipe organ that was built in 1883.

"It was the oldest pipe organ in the city, and it was so exciting for the organ community," Howk said. "We had a national expert who drove up from Connecticut just to see the pipe organ."

Throughout its history, the church had all its original fixtures and finishings along with the colorful stained glass windows.

"With how intense the flames were, they had a lot of fuel. So much of the structure was wood, not just brick on the outside. There was a Tiffany stained glass window that was in the sanctuary, but it’s probably gone,” Howk said.