Celebrating 165 Years of a Beloved Village Landmark

Celebrating 165 Years of a Beloved Village Landmark
Grace Church as seen from East 10th Street

Grace Church as seen from East 10th Street

Today is a day of highs and lows in the preservation world. As we chronicle the destruction of two very significant early rowhouses in the East Village, we also take pause to celebrate the anniversary of  the consecration of one of the Village’s most beloved landmarks: one-hundred and sixty-five years ago today, 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.

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Dana was GVSHP's Programs and Administrative Associate from 2010 to 2013.

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3 comments on “Celebrating 165 Years of a Beloved Village Landmark
  1. Dana William Leue says:

    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. Dana William Leue says:

    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.

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "Celebrating 165 Years of a Beloved Village Landmark"
  1. […] Revival architecture and is one of the master works of architect James Renwick, Jr. More on that HERE, or read the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report on the building, which […]

  2. […] up around Union Square.  Gothic Revival religious institutions such as the James Renwick-designed Grace Church and the Richard Upjohn-designed Church of the Ascension (a 2011 GVSHP Village Award winner) served […]

  3. […] we celebrate the glorious structure on the corner of Broadway and East 10th Street: Grace Church in New York. On this day in 1966, Grace Church in New York and its rectory were designated New York City […]

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