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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

St. Paulís Chapel

Exploring Downtown

 
 
St. Paulís Chapel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
1. St. Paulís Chapel Marker
Inscription. Manhattanís only pre-Revolutionary church building has a remarkable history stretching from George Washingtonís inauguration to the attack of September 11th. Built in the 1760s, on what was then the outskirts of town, St. Paulís originally served residents of the hinterland as a chapel of Wall Streetís Trinity Church. Designed in the English Georgian style (named for King George the First, Second and Third), St. Paulís was one of dozens of churches throughout the British Empire modeled after St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Londonís Trafalgar Square.

The columned entrance porch on Broadway leads, surprisingly, directly into the altar-end of the church instead of the rear of the sanctuary – the main entrance is through the Colonial-era churchyard to the west. The white, wooden interior has changed little from George Washingtonís days. The President was a regular during his first years in office, when New York was the nationís capital, and his pew survives, carefully preserved and roped off on the side.

St. Paulís developed a reputation as Downtownís most peaceful oasis – a role suddenly transformed by the collapse of the World Trade Center, directly across Church Street. Within a month of the disaster, St. Paulís had organized a massive relief effort. From October 2001 through June 2002, volunteers from all over the
Marker on Broadway image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
2. Marker on Broadway
country provided recovery workers with food, cots and teddy bears, while chaplains offered comfort and moral support. Thousands of visitors to the Chapel turned its wrought-iron fence into an impromptu memorial covered with posters, flags, letters and more.

Despite St. Paulís unexpected role in the wake of the tragedy, life at the Chapel goes on. Besides holding regular religious services, St. Paulís continues to operate a transition shelter for homeless men run by Trinity Church volunteers, and to host weekly noonday concerts open to the public, a tradition since 1968.
 
Erected by The Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
 
Location. 40° 42.678′ N, 74° 0.532′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway and Vesey Street, on the right when traveling south on Broadway. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10007, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Richard Montgomery (a few steps from this marker); Remains of Maj. Gen. Richard Montgomery (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named St. Paul's Chapel (a few steps from this marker); Saint Paulís Chapel
Marker at St. Paulís Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 25, 2009
3. Marker at St. Paulís Chapel
(within shouting distance of this marker); 100 Year-Old Sycamore (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic St. Paulís Chapel (within shouting distance of this marker); Bell of Hope (within shouting distance of this marker); The Churchyard (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. The top right of the marker features a picture of George Washington in front of St. Paulís Chapel. It has a caption of “On April 30, 1789, following his inauguration as President at Federal Hall on Wall Street, George Washington walked up to St. Paulís for a special service in solemn procession, accompanied by his Vice President, John Adams, and members of Congress.” Below this is a photograph of “The memorial on St. Paulís wrought-iron fence, May 2002. The spontaneous collage of signed t-shirts, banners, posters, baseball caps, letters, and paper cranes – a symbol of peace – developed into the largest and longest-lasting of such memorials to the victims of 9-11.” The left of the marker contains a photograph of “A piano recital in the sanctuary,
St. Paulís Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
4. St. Paulís Chapel
St. Paulís Chapel is the oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan.
part of the St. Paulís Chapel Noonday series.” Below this is a picture of the painting from the church, with the caption “The oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States that hangs above Washingtonís pew in St. Paulís believed to be one of its earliest representations, ordered by the Vestry in 1785, just three years after its adoption by the Continental Congress, and four years before Washingtonís inauguration.” Also present is a photo of one of the chandeliers in the chapel. This includes a caption of “St. Paulís is lit by fourteen cut-glass chandeliers from Waterford, Ireland, ordered by the Vestry in 1802. Several decades later, as gas replaced candlelight, the chandeliers were removed and all but one donated to various sister Episcopal churches. Remarkably, a century later, they were all tracked down, reacquired for the church, restored, wired for electricity, and rehung in a 1926 restoration of the chapel.”
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the markers in lower Manhattan erected by the Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
 
Also see . . .  St. Paul's. Nation's First Monument To Soldier; Washington Worshipped In Church. New York Freedom Trail website. (Submitted on June 24, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
St. Paulís Chapel with Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
5. St. Paulís Chapel with Marker
Marker can be seen in the photo in front of St. Paulís Chapel
 
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.Colonial Era
 
George Washington's Pew in St. Paulís Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
6. George Washington's Pew in St. Paulís Chapel
George Washington prayed at St. Paulís after his inauguration as the first president of the United States in 1789. He continued to worship at St. Paulís Chapel until the capital of the U.S. moved from New York to Philadelphia in 1790.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,139 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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