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Quick Facts on Trinity Church

Short URL
gohist.co/s/318608
Names
Trinity Church Trinity Church, Wall Street
Address
Broadway and Wall Street New York
Location
New York  state
United States  country
North America  continent
Main date(s)
1846
Coordinates
40.708084° N, 74.012119° W
Opening hours
Church open in daylight hours.
Museum: Mon-Fri 9-11:45am; Sun-Fri 1-3:45pm; Sat 10am-3:45pm
Admission
Free admission and tours; $2 suggested donation for noonday concerts
Phone
212-602-0800 (general) 212-602-0872 (tour reservations) 212-602-0747 (concert information)

Historical Timeline of Trinity Church

1697
Trinity Church in New York City receives its charter from King William III of England.
1709
Trinity Church founds the Charity School (now known as the Trinity School). It is the oldest school in continuous operation in New York City.
1774
The leaders of Trinity Church in New York take the Loyalist side during the Revolutionary War.
21 September 1776
Trinity Church burns down during the American Revolution. It will remain in ruins until 1790.
1784
The New York State Legislature appoints patriots as Trustees and modifies the charter of the former Loyalist Trinity Church to conform with the new state constitution. The Patriot priest Samuel Provoost becomes rector.
1790
Trinity Church is rebuilt.
1839
The second Trinity Church building in New York City is demolished after a heavy snowfall damages the roof.
11 September 2001
Trinity Church remains standing as the World Trade Center falls nearby. (But the historic pipe organ is severely damaged by dust and debris and will be replaced in 2007.) The gates of Trinity Church become an impromptu memorial to the victims, with tokens of remembrance left by both locals and visitors.

Description of Trinity Church

The exterior, a striking medieval element in an otherwise Neo-Classical and modern city, has all the features of a traditional Gothic church: flying buttresses, delicate tracery, stained glass windows, pointed arches and Gothic-style sculpture. Its most striking feature is the west spire, which rises to 281 feet. For many years it was the tallest building in Manhattan.

The only non-traditional feature of Trinity Church is the material: a warm brownstone that was normally used only when builders could not afford marble, granite or limestone. Since the ultra-wealthy Trinity Church could have afforded these better materials, the use of brownstone was almost certainly an aesthetic choice by the architect. It reflects the Romantic movement of the time, in which earth-toned building materials were preferred as more "picturesque" and "natural."

The bronze doors, paid for by William Waldorf Astor, were modeled on Lorenzo Ghiberti's famous doors on the Florence Baptistery. They were designed by Richard Morris Hunt; Karl Bitter won the competition for the execution. From top to bottom, the panels of the left door depict The Throne of Heaven; The Empty Tomb; and The Expulsion from Eden; the right door depicts The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; The Annunciation; and Jacob's Ladder.

The Gothic Revival interior is light and elegant, leading to a colorful wall of stained glass behind the altar. The chancel window, one of the first American artworks in stained glass, was designed by Upjohn himself. It had to be made in Germany since no American artist possessed the necessary skills at the time.

The chancel screen was donated by Jacob and William Astor in memory of their father and designed by Frederick C. Withers. It is made of Caen stone and marble.

The south side of the church contains the Monument Room, which Upjohn set aside for memorials so they would not disfigure the nave. At the end of the north aisle is a small museum displaying historical documents (including the charter from King William III), photographs, replicas of the Hamilton-Burr duel pistols, and other items.

Holly Hayes
October 27, 2011

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