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Celebrating the Beginnings of a Beloved Village Landmark

Grace Church as seen from East 10th Street

Today we pause to celebrate the anniversary of  the consecration of one of the Village’s most beloved landmarks: on March 7th, 1846, Grace Church was consecrated at Broadway and 10th Street.

The year 1846 was an exciting year for the Gothic Revival. James Renwick Jr.’s design of Grace Church, along with that of Trinity Church on Wall Street by Richard Upjohn in the same year, marked the  style’s introduction to New York City.  Not only was the church considered a masterpiece of its time in New York, but it was hailed at the time as one of the greatest Gothic works in the country.  The land upon which the church was built was purchased from Henry Brevoort, Renwick’s uncle, who was a successful Dutch farmer and land holder who is most remembered for his friendship with Washington Irving.

Unlike medieval Gothic cathedrals, Grace is not built of stone, but rather of Sing Sing marble.  It does, however, contain typical Gothic elements such as a rose window above the recessed doorway, a pattern of pointed-arch windows interrupted by exterior buttresses, an overall vertical emphasis culminating in the tall, narrow spire, and stained glass windows.  The interior emulated the traditional Gothic style, too, with its plan consisting of a long nave, transept, and choir.  The detailed rib vaulting is another notable element.

Grace Church and its striking Gothic Revival interior

In 1966, Grace Church and its rectory were designated New York City Landmarks.  In 1974, the entire church complex was listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.

You can find further information on this and other Village, East Village, and NoHo designated landmarks and historic districts on GVSHP’s Resources webpage.

6 responses to “Celebrating the Beginnings of a Beloved Village Landmark

  1. As a sad footnote to the entry on James Renwick, Jr., I note that in July, 2011, the Renwick-designed Trinity Church in Albany, NY was demolished after the beginnings of structural collapse were noted. This modest but beautiful building was built in 1848, just after Grace Church and before the architect began St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

  2. In a sort of homage to the now-demolished Trinity Episcopal Church in Albany, NY, which was Renwick-designed and constructed in 1848, I have built a LEGO model of the church, using photographs that Albany photographer Chuck Miller took during the demolition. You can see photographs of the LEGO model atMOCPages: William Leue.

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