The history of St. Mary Parish
In 1843 the Rev. William P. Hogan of Lansingburgh said the first Mass in Waterford. The Mass was said in the Town Hall. Five years later the first St. Mary’s Church was built. It still stands on its original site and is now used as a meeting hall for the parishioners.
In 1858 the Most Reverend John McCloskey, Bishop of Albany, invited the Augustinian Order to assume charge of
St. Mary’s Parish. St. Mary’s thus was raised to the status of a Parish, with the Rev. George Meagher, O.S.A. as the first Pastor. From 1862 to 1865 the first improvements in the church were made under the direction of the Rev. Michael Collins, O.S.A. A basement and a sacristy were added and a bell tower erected. In 1894 a terrible tornado caused great damage. The repairs were made by the Rev. James Curran, O.S.A.
After 65 years the present St. Mary’s Church was erected. It was approved on March 14, 1911, and blessed by Bishop Burke on November 23, 1913. The Rev. Alfred H. Valiquette, O.S.A. was the Pastor. The new St. Mary’s is in modern type English Gothic. The face stone is Woodbury granite, laid in coarse rubble, and the cut stone is from the same quarry, while the window frames are of Green River Limestone. The parishioners could well be proud of this magnificent edifice that they had erected to the memory of the Blessed Mother. The “little cathedral of the North” as the St. Mary’s Church is called is a lasting tribute to all who worked and contributed that it might be built.
The V. Rev. Francis A. Diehl, O.S.A. was appointed Pastor in 1951. It was not long before he became aware that the long-felt need for a school could now be satisfied. After consultation with the Most Reverend Edmund F. Gibbons, Bishop of Albany, it was decided that if the necessary funds could be raised in a concentrated drive, St. Mary’s of Waterford, N.Y. could, in the immediate future rejoice in the possession of a Parish School.