While many of our 2011 Village Awardees are located within NYC historic districts, the Church of the Ascension holds the distinction of our only awardee this year that is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The Church recently completed a painstaking and spectacular restoration of the interior of its nave, for which it is recieving the Village Award. We hope to see you at our Annual Meeting to partake in the celebration and to honor this and seven other awardees that make the Village so special!
The State and National Register of Historic Places (S/NR) is the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, objects, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture of New York and the nation. While this designation does not outright prohibit demolition of buildings without public approval, as does local landmarking, a listing provides recognition of the historical merit of a building, financial assistance in tax credits, and matching historic preservation grants for municipal and non-profit owners. More information can be found at the New York State Historic Preservation Office.
The Church of the Ascension was placed on the S/NR in 1978. Built by architect Richard Upjohn between 1840-41 in the Gothic Revival style, it is compared in the registers listing to Trinity Church, also built by Upjohn between 1839-1846. The listing also details a remodeling of the interior from 1885-1889, undertaken by Stanford White of McKim, Mead, & White. This remodeling lightened the space considerably, removing galleries on the north and south and adding stained-glass windows and a the mural “the Ascenion of Our Lord” by artist John La Farge. The sculptured angels over the main altar are the work of Louis St. Gaudens and the two angels in the mosaic were done by D. Maitland Armstrong. See more about La Farge in our blog post for fellow 2011 awardee Judson Memorial Church. You can access the full S/NR listing for the church on the GVSHP website.
The most recent renovation, undertaken to accommodate a new organ and to address deteriorating conditions, is truly spectacular. The church is presenting a unique opportunity to hear the new organ in its wonderfully restored nave, with the Manton Memorial Organ Inaugural Festival through June 24th.