On Top of the Hill
If you ever roamed along State Route 145 in Middleburgh, then you already know the building. You can’t miss it. The two-story, red-brick structure lies perched at the top of the hill adorned with a golden cupola and Orthodox cross. The front entryway has a white rooftop shading the stone steps. In the distance, there is a pond, a barn and other outbuildings. If you were curious, you may have peeked at the green sign at the bottom of the driveway. It says “2781 State Route 145, Mountain View Russian Orthodox Religious & Cultural Center Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia” and it is also inscribed in Russia. Since 2010, this place has served in this spiritual capacity.
If we turn our attention back in time, this setting has a more storied history.
The first move toward a religious purpose was when Schoharie County sold the property to sold to the Franciscan Order. A Catholic Church was built in 1953, by The Franciscans, Queen of Peace Friary, as a place of study for students preparing for the priesthood.
In 1971, the Middleburgh Central School leased space from the friary for an annex for elementary school students for one year.
The Franciscan Order opened the Friary as Rehabilitation Facility for runaway youth in 1972.
The building was sold and re-opened as an adult home in 1981 and later under a new owner, operated as the Mountain View Manor until closing in 2006.
After several attempts at auction, it was purchased by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2010.
Cuccinello, Karen McLaughlin. Schoharie County Poorhouse/Almshouse History & Residents: the Good, the Bad, & the Sloughters (Summit, NY: self-published by the author, 2017).