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GRACE CHURCH (1846)



GRACE CHURCH was the first design of a first-time architect, JAMES RENWICK, JR., a young civil engineer who was only 24 years old when he created this masterpiece -- something hard to fathom when experiencing the church's beauty.  Grace Church -- completed in 1846 – has a Gothic Revival design and is a National Historic Landmark.  The white marble used to construct the church was dug from marble quarries along the Hudson River by prisoners at the famous Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.  Renwick would later design New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral (notice similarities in their spires), Calvary Church and Bartholomew Church as well as Washington DC’s Smithsonian Castle and Corcoran Gallery of Art.  Throughout the years, additions to Grace Church, including new stain-glassed windows, were made.  The church’s East window, “Te Deum,” celebrates praise and was designed by Clayton and Bell in 1878 to capture the morning light.  Renwick’s design was so highly respected that a statue of Renwick himself was placed in the church.  

Grace Church’s wealthy founders and patrons were progressive thinkers and throughout its history, the church has offered community outreach and education programs for both adults and children.  The church is believed to have housed the City’s first day care center.  It is located at the corner of 10th Street and Broadway in the East Village on land that was once part of  Old Randall farm.   Author Herman Melville and his new bride moved into a house  at 103  Fourth Avenue near his publisher and behind the church in 1847 when Melville was writing Moby Dick.  Melville would later live at his brother's house on East 26th Street.  On February 10, 1863, the wedding of midget Tom Thumb to his two-feet, eight-inch bride was staged here by P.T. Barnum.


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