Our Collections

Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery

Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery

Also known as St. Mark's Church

Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, the oldest site of continuous worship in Manhattan, was one of the first landmarks designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Location: 31 East 10th Street, New York, NY  |  Google Maps
People: James Bogardus, Harold Edelman, Judith Edelman, Ernest Flagg, John McComb, James Renwick, Jr., Peter Stuyvesant, Martin Euclid Thomas, Ithiel Towne 
Organizations: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, Neighborhood Preservation Center, Saint Mark’s Landmark Fund, Municipal Art Society, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
Above: St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery; Courtesy of Untapped Cities

Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery is the oldest site of continuous worship in Manhattan.1 Located at 31 East 10th Street, at the intersection of Stuyvesant Street and Second Avenue, the site was part of a “bouwerie” or farm plot that was purchased in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant. Here Stuyvesant built a Dutch Reform Chapel and upon his death in 1672 was buried in a vault beneath the church. Stuyvesant’s great grandson rebuilt the chapel as an Episcopal church in 1773. This church is an important example of the blending and harmonizing of many different, significant styles.2 John McComb built the sanctuary of the church in 1777. With its fieldstone walls and round arched windows, the sanctuary belongs to the late Georgian style. In 1828, the Greek Revival style steeple was added by Martin Euclid Thomas and Ithiel Towne. Martin Euclid Thomas was also involved in the renovation of the sanctuary in 1836, a project that replaced its square pillars with slender Egyptian revival ones. In 1856, James Bogardus, added a cast-iron portico belonging to the Italianate tradition. Finally a brick addition was commissioned in 1861, designed and supervised by architect James Renwick, Jr.3 

This building is not only a display of elegant architecture but also one whose history is very valuable to the City of New York. Because of its historic and special architectural character, a result of its hybrid of styles and elements from diverse periods, Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery was designated as an individual landmark on April 19, 1966. After being designated a landmark, the building was badly damaged by a fire in 1979. Harold and Judith Edelman oversaw the restoration of the building, which took nearly 10 years to complete. After suffering another fire a decade later, the Beaux-Arts designed rectory by Ernest Flagg was restored. Today the rectory continues to function as the rector’s residence in addition to being the home of the Neighborhood Preservation Center, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, the Saint Mark’s Landmark Fund, and other small preservation-related not-for-profits.4

Saint Mark's Church in-the-Bowery was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966. The church is also part of the St. Mark's Historic District, which was designated in 1969 and had its boundaries extended in 1984. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church still functions as a spiritual center but also is used for political, artistic, and community activities. Danspace Project, The Poetry Project, The Incubator Arts Project, and Richard Foreman’s The Ontological-Hysteric Theater have been housed at Saint Mark’s.5

1952: The Municipal Art Society holds a panel "Thirty New York Buildings Most Worthy of Preservation." Saint Mark's Church in-the-Bowery was among the buildings to receive the greatest number of votes.6

April 12, 1966: The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission holds a public hearing on proposed designation of Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery.7

The effort to achieve historic district designation for the area where Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery is located resulted in landmark designation of the Saint Mark's Historic District in 1969 and an extension of the district in 1984.9

Preservation and restoration of Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery was carried out by artisans from the neighborhood, participants of the Preservation Youth Project, and participants in a job-training program that was created for low-income residents of the surrounding community.10 One of the organizations that was created out of this preservation effort was the Neighborhood Preservation Center, which was a project of the Saint Mark's Historic Landmark Fund.11 In addition, the Preservation Youth Project was another organization that grew out of this preservation effort. It was an innovative approach to preservation. Youth from the area worked under the guidance of artisans to restore the exterior of Saint Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. This turned into a full-time youth training program.12

  • Memorial of St. Mark's Church in the Bowery: containing an account of the services held to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the dedication of the church on May 9, 1799, At the New York Public Library.

  • Community Documentation Workshop, St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery (New York, N.Y.) Records, 1968-1981, At the New York State Archives.

  • David Allen Garcia,1944-, Papers, 1969-1986, At the New York State Archives.

  • J. C. Michael Allen, (Jay Cooke Michael), 1927-, Papers, 1959-1970, At the New York State Archives.
  1. 
Landmarks Preservation Commission, “Designation Report,” 19 April 1966, Number 22, LP-0227.
  2. 
Ibid.
  3. 
Ibid.
  4. 
”POSTINGS: Renovating the Rectory of St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery; Home for a Rector, and More,” The New York Times, 8 March 1988.
  5. 
“St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery: The 20th Century: The Arts in the 20th Century,” Greenwich Village History. Article retrieved 16 April 2016.
  6. 
Anthony C. Wood, Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect A City’s Landmarks (New York: Routledge, 2007), page 120.
  7. 
Landmarks Preservation Commission, “Designation Report,” 19 April 1966, Number 22, LP-0227.
  8. 
”Home: About the Landmark Fund,” St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund. Article retrieved 23 February 2016.
  9. 
Landmarks Preservation Commission, “St. Mark’s Historic District,” 1969, and Landmarks Preservation Commission, “St. Mark’s Historic District Extension,” 1984, both from Neighborhood Preservation Center. Articles retrieved 23 February 2016.
  10. Home: About the Landmark Fund,” St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund. Article retrieved 23 February 2016.
  11. 
”About Us,” Neighborhood Preservation Center. Article retrieved 23 February 2016.
  12. Preservation Youth Project,” St. Mark’s Historic Landmark Fund. Article retrieved 23 February 2016.