St. Paul's Chapel

New York, United States

St. Paul's Chapel, built in 1766, it is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan, and one of the nation's finest examples of Late Georgian church architecture.

A chapel of the Parish of Trinity Church, St. Paul's was built on land granted by Anne, Queen of Great Britain. Construction on the building's main body began in 1764 and was completed in 1766. The church's spire was added between 1794 and 1796.

Built of Manhattan mica-schist with brownstone quoins, St. Paul's has the classical portico, boxy proportions and domestic details that are characteristic of Georgian churches including James Gibbs' St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. The church's octagonal spire rises from a square base and is topped by a replica of the Athenian Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (c. 335 BC). Inside, the chapel's simple elegant hall has the pale colors, flat ceiling and cut glass chandeliers reminiscent of contemporary domestic interiors.

The church has historically been attributed to Thomas McBean, a Scottish architect and student of James Gibbs. Recent documentation published by historian John Fitzhugh Millar suggests architect Peter Harrison may have instead been responsible for the structure's design. Master craftsman and furniture maker Andrew Gautier produced the church's interior fixtures.

Upon completion in 1766, the church was the tallest building in New York City. It stood in a field some distance from the growing port city to the south and was built as a 'chapel-of-ease' for parishioners who thought the mother church inconvenient to access.

On the Broadway side of the chapel's exterior is an oak statue of the church's namesake, Saint Paul, carved by an unknown sculptor and installed in 1790. Below the east window is the monument to Brigadier General Richard Montgomery, who died at the Battle of Quebec (1775) during the American Revolutionary War.

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Founded: 1764-1766
Category: Religious sites in United States

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jose Ortega (2 years ago)
An amazing church with an amazing history to match. You can go with a tour group but I like visiting on my own, it’s pretty amazing. I keep using that word because it is. Just take your time and wonder the grounds and take it all in.
Kristen L. Matulis (2 years ago)
Located right by the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, St. Paul’s Chapel is a really lovely place with so much incredible history. The architecture is beautiful and the cemetery in itself reveals the richness of the American history present here. There are opportunities for tours when you visit, but I believe you can enter the chapel without tickets or reservations if you want to visit without staff guidance. When the cemetery gates are open, you can walk through independently as well! A favorite exhibit of mine is the Bell of Hope, which is present in the cemetery, posterior to entrance of St. Paul’s Chapel. This bell was gifted to the people of New York by city officials out of London after September 11th, 2001. The bell is symbolically rung on each anniversary of September 11th.
David Munroe (2 years ago)
Make time to visit St. Pauls Chapel when visiting the World Trade Centre area. I suspect many people miss it and yet it is steeped in history and its survival over all these years is remarkable. It has its own exhibition in memory of 9/11 but also a history that includes George Washington
Jason Peter (2 years ago)
Historic place . Ideal location on Broadway . Overlooks the Fulton Centre and overshadowed by One World Trade Center . Please have a look at the Bell of Hope near the rear entrance
Steven Brothers (2 years ago)
Beautiful old church with a lot of history and information about 9/11 since it's so close to ground zero. It's definitely worth stopping by if you're in the area.
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