A View to a Historic Restoration

A View to a Historic Restoration
The arch entrance to the West Yard of St. Mark's Church In-the-Bowery. Photo courtesy of the Neighborhood Preservation Center.
The arch entrance to the West Yard of St. Mark's Church In-the-Bowery. Photo courtesy of St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.

The arch entrance to the West Yard of St. Mark's Church In-the-Bowery. Photo courtesy of St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.

Any restoration of a historic site within our neighborhoods is exciting. But when that project is a stone’s throw away from our office space at the Neighborhood Preservation Center, we get a little giddy. Not surprisingly, we have been thrilled to watch the progress unfold on the restoration of the West Yard Arch project.

The latest e-newsletter from the St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund provides some great history about the fence and arch.

The fence of St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery is one of the oldest of its kind in New York City, completed in 1836-1838. A mix of wrought and cast-iron with a stone base, the design is attributed to Martin Euclid Thompson and Ithiel Town, who also completed the Church’s Greek Revival steeple in 1836. The brick archway was added as an entrance to the West Yard on 10th Street in the 1920s and has become a prominent feature of the Church’s street view.

The fence surrounding the arch showing serious rust and decay (left). A form is used to create the rounded arch (right). Photos courtesy of St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.

The fence surrounding the arch showing serious rust and decay (left). A form is used to create the rounded arch (right). Photos courtesy of St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.

For a few years, the archway has been protected within a sleeve and cradle, to prevent the cracked bricks from cracking further, creating additional damage within the arch, or falling on pedestrians. Skilled workers deconstructed the bricks within the arch and cut away portions of the fence that had been encased in the arch since it was first built. While the arch itself is now finished, work remains to be done: the entrance gate needs to be cleaned, repaired, and reinstalled and the adjacent fence and granite base all need restoration as well. GVSHP is looking forward to the final reveal, and will be sure to post again on OFF THE GRID when the project is complete.

A worker's hand shows how much the bricks had separated from rust and water damage. Photo courtesy of the St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.

A worker's hand shows how much the bricks had separated from rust and water damage. Photo courtesy of the St. Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.

Want to see more? Visit the Fund’s Picassa page for additional pictures of the progress on this timely and excellent restoration.

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Sheryl
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Sheryl Woodruff was GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations until December 2014.

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