St. Margaret's House
The Society of St. Margaret was founded in 1855 in Sussex, England by the Rev. John Mason Neale with three sisters. In 1873 the sisters established a society in Boston, Mass. Around 1912 Rachel Munson Proctor visited England and was so impressed by the work of "The Society of St. Margaret" that she asked if they would establish a chapter in Utica.
In 1912, two of the Sisters arrived in Utica to begin their work. Mrs. Proctor established a home for the Sisters on Clark Place in Utica. They began mission work, put people up who were on retreat, provided spiritual direction for some, and provided shelter for those who needed a place to stay for a night or two.
It soon became clear that the Sisters would need a bigger residence. During this time, the St. Margaret’s Corporation was formed. Upon the deaths of Rachel and Frederick Proctor, funds were bequest to the Corporation for the purchase of the land upon which the new house for the Sisters was built. In 1929 the land on Jordan Road in New Hartford, New York was purchased. The architects, Bagg and Newkirk were hired, as were the contractors of the house, Charles and Frank Alt. The first stone was laid on July 9th, 1936 at the Jordan Road building.
This lovely home contains living quarters, a library, dining room, "great" room with TV and video setup , a fully stocked kitchen, 18 bedrooms with four that can be used as double rooms (meals and linens are provided) and a beautiful chapel in a separate building that is accessible by an underground corridor from the main house as well as from the outside .
At one time a full-time chaplain lived on the grounds in a stone house adjacent to the convent. Today, local Episcopal clergy come to perform the necessary services for the sisters and guests. The chaplain house is rented out.
In 1983 the sisterhood started Emmaus House—a homeless shelter for women and children on Kemble Street in Utica, and a soup kitchen on Devereux Street.
When the house first opened, it served as a rest home for convalescent women and those in need of rest, care, quiet, and spiritual help. During the time that the Sisters were in residence, they would welcome those of all faiths who wished to come for quiet hours, for retreats, or just to make a visit. The beautiful grounds were always filled with flowers, gardens, and grape vines. The Sisters continued their work with the Episcopal churches throughout the area until 2009 when, with advancing age, it was necessary to return to Massachusetts.
From 2009 until 2018, the house was cared for by the loving hands of stewards. They, along with the staff, and Board of Trustees of the Corporation, ensured that guests of the site and the property were well cared for.
In 2018, the Board of Trustees hired the Corporation’s first Executive Director, Judith H. Reilly, to move the Corporation forward, and Judy serves in that capacity today.