Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Holy Week salute to Grace Church

Meanwhile, our Holy Week coverage continues.

[Pauses for people to say, 'What Holy Week coverage?"]

Late Sunday afternoon, we went inside the historic Grace Church in New York on the corner of Broadway and East 10th Street to escape the cloudburst to look around.

A little history via New York Architecture...

As the earliest example of Gothic Architecture in New York City, The Grace Church of New York provides a stunning introductory example. Designed by the then unproven young architect, James Renwick Jr., just 24 years old, it served as the beginning of his highly successful career. The church has stood for over 150 years, undergoing several additions as its congregation grew, and is currently undergoing a renovation that will restore the church to its full beauty.

The original Grace Church was incorporated in 1809, in a much smaller and plainer building some 2 miles away from the current address. In 1843, having out grown its current housings, plans were prepared for the construction of a new church further north to keep up with the expanding city.

The building was completed in 1846; however, it was a much plainer than it is today. The steeple was built out of plain wood to save expense, and would remain so for nearly twenty years until it was replaces with the marble one that stands today.

It turns out that on Sunday, the Church celebrated the reopening of the choir and sanctuary. Per the program that day: "We last saw the Te Deum stained glass window rising above the high altar in June of 2011. Since then we have removed and restored every piece of glass, and replaced the deteriorated marble tracery with newly carved limestone."

And here it is...

And, via the Church's website, here's the earliest photograph of the church interior circa the 1860s ... looking in the same direction...

And we'll leave you with a little more history... Circus star Tom Thumb married Lavinia Warren here in 1863. Per the Church website: "Despite loud professions of distaste for the alleged grotesqueness of the coming spectacle, most of the fashionable world contrived to be there, to jostle each other and even stand on the seats, in order to get a glimpse of it."

No mention that David Duchovny married Tea Leoni in the backyard here in 1997. (Via NY Songlines.)

Check out the Church website for more history and news.


Marty Wombacher said...

Love that Tom Thumb story! Sounds like they had Kim Kardashian type weddings even back then.

Cheri said...

The photos of the church were beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This should be part of the "appreciation" series. It's lovely. Thank you Grieve!