St. Paul’s Chapel, St. Paul Building & Park Row Building circa 1900
We are looking east from Church Street towards Broadway and Park Row. It’s a lush green day sometime around the turn-of-the century, the exact date unknown. We do know the time is 3:10 in the afternoon according to the clock on St. Paul’s Chapel in this magic lantern slide view.
Built in 1766, St. Paul’s Chapel is New York City’s oldest church. It is surrounded by a cemetery where locals and visitors can still get a bit of respite from the congested, noisy surrounding streets.
As seen in the photograph, the church’s facade was once completely covered in ivy. One thing to note is that the chapel’s main entrance is on the Church Street side where the steeple rises, not on Broadway, where visitors currently enter the chapel. When constructed in the 18th century the chapel was situated to take advantage of the unobstructed views towards the Hudson River.
To the far right of the chapel stands the 26 story St. Paul Building, one of New York’s first skyscrapers built form 1896 – 1898 by the wealthy sugar refinery magnate Henry Osborne Havemeyer. The St. Paul Building was designed by famed architect George B. Post. The limestone clad building stood on Broadway between Ann and Fulton Streets and occupied the former site of the New York Herald. Previous to the Herald Building, the site hosted P.T. Barnum’s Museum.
The St. Paul Building was demolished in 1958 and the site became home to the nondescript Western Electric Building. Before the building was demolished three heroic size statues called “the races of mankind” by famed sculptor Karl Bitter were salvaged. A committee of art experts and preservationists awarded the statues to the city of Indianapolis, IN where they were installed at a reflecting fountain pool in Holliday Park. Over the years the park was neglected and vandalized. It has recently been opened again as the Ruins, and Bitter’s statues are still intact.
The building with the twin cupolas directly adjacent to the St. Paul Building is the Park Row Building designed by R.H Robertson. For a brief time the Park Row Building was the tallest office building in New York when it was completed in 1899. The building was declared a New York City landmark in 1999. The Park Row Building has now been converted into apartments.
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