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Three Cheers for Father’s Heart Church!

Last month we all cheered when it was announced that the Bowery Historic District was added to the State and National Register of Historic Places – a well-deserved recognition of one of New York’s oldest and most historic streets. We are also thrilled that another historic site in our neighborhood, an East Village icon, was added to the State and National Register of Historic Places.

“A new chapel, situated in East Eleventh Street, near Avenue B, where it was erected by the New York City Sunday School and Missionary Society of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, was formally dedicated to the service of God, yesterday…”- New York Times, Jan. 13, 1868

The handsome Gothic revival style Father’s Heart Church and its former rectory at 545-547 East 11th Street were added to the New York State Register of Historic Places last month. We have written about the evolution of the church building and its mission in this previous post and you can learn more about its history in its fascinating National Register nomination report. The Father’s Heart Church will join the ranks of other sites that convey the narrative of the dynamic history of the East Village that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places including the Christadora House at 143 Avenue B built, built as a settlement house in 1928, the Yiddish Art Theatre at 189 Second Avenue, the home of bebop pioneer Charlie Parker , the New York Marble and New York City Marble Cemeteries, First Houses the nation’s first public housing development and the Isaac T. Hopper House, a reform home for women prisoners. The church is also one of the few sites in the East Village that is an individual New York City Landmark.

This is wonderful news for the neighborhood and the Church itself. The East Village is one of the City’s most richly historic neighborhoods with sites that reflect the eras of colonialism, immigration, progressivism, counter culture movements and urban reclamation. With all of this amazing history the East Village is underrepresented in terms of landmarking and developers are continuing to chip away at this historic fabric.

Image courtesy of StreetEasy.com

As an example, despite GVSHP’s efforts to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate a lovely circa 1840s home at 316 East 3rd Street demolition permits were recently filed. As the historic fabric of this neighborhood is lost  the importance of the proposed East Village – Lower East Side and East 10th Street Historic Districts grows even more important. GVSHP strongly advocated for these districts and hopes that the LPC will move quickly to schedule designation hearings.

We have previously posted about the criteria for and benefits of listing on the National Register of Historic Places. For the Father’s Heart Church listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places is not only ceremonial. Listing on the State and National Registers can assist owners in revitalizing the structures by making them eligible for various preservation programs and services, such as grants.

Congratulation to the Father’s Heart Church, a special part of this area’s history and a valuable contributor to the community! We hope that the Church will be but one of many sites in the East Village  soon to be recognized for its historic and cultural significance.

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