In our series Beyond the Village and Back, we take a look at some great landmarks throughout New York City outside of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, celebrate their special histories, and reveal their (sometimes hidden) connections to the Village.
The St. James Presbyterian Church at 409 West 141st Street, on the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue, stands on the incline of a hill looking eastward over Harlem. The commanding, 1904 neo-Gothic structure boasts an ornate bell tower, visible from the nearby St. Nicholas Park and the City College of New York. While the striking building has graced this location for well over a century, the church’s history actually extends much further back, descending from the Shiloh Presbyterian Church. Shiloh was a leader in the abolitionist movement and a part of the Underground Railroad. For decades, it was led by a series of radical black ministers, including one Greenwich Villager who led the church’s response to the deadly Draft Riots of 1863, and who preached from the pulpit right here on Sixth Avenue in our neighborhood.
St. James Presbyterian Church, 2016. Photo courtesy of Google.
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