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The Grace Church History

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 land for the current church was purchased from Henry Brevoort Jr. The rector at the time, Thomas House Taylor, selected James Renick Jr. to be the architect behind the construction. It was probably Taylor, who had spent time in Europe looking at the churches there that influenced the decision to build the church in the Gothic style. This taking place before the Gothic Revival and before any such structure had been built in New York.

bonavita2.jpg (36270 bytes)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. None of the artworks and few of the memorials were there, as well as the elaborate stained glass windows. It was through the action of independent peoples that the church grew into its own.

Philanthropist Catharine Lorillard Wolfe is responsible for many of the additions to the church. In 1879, she had the Chantry, a small chapel next to the church, constructed to house the choir and Sunday school. She later gave funds for the construction of the parish house that connected the church to the rectory. Her most profound donation was the beautiful East Window. Until this point, the window was simply lightly tinted glass. This donation propelled many of the parishioners to follow her example and almost all of the stained glass windows were donated in this fashion.




bonavita4.jpg (21105 bytes) Several more buildings were added in the years to come. Most of which border Fourth Avenue. Several house the Grace Church School, which enrolls 370 students. The garden, which runs along East Tenth Street, was also a donation.


Medieval NewYorkGrace Main | History | Gothic Influence | Restoration | Pictures


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