Thursday, September 12, 2013

St. Mary's Manhattanville Did Not Burn

Inspired by the work of the Search Committee, of which I am not a member, I have begun to put together a history of my parish church, St. Mary's Manhattanville, which I first attended in 1958 when I was a graduate student at Columbia.

St. Mary's was organinzed in December 1823 and a wooden church was built and dedicated in 1826.  In 1900 it was decided that the church was not big enough, and it was decided to plan for the erection of a new church.  Financial considerations delayed the project, but the old church was torn down in 1908 and a new church constructed.  The new church was dedicated in 1909.

In Harlem Lost and Found, Michael Henry Adams says that the wooden frame church burned.  This is an error, and it has been repeated since, on many websites.   In fact, as noted on St. Mary's Blog, the sermon at the last service in the old church was given by the son of a former rector (and the grandson of the first rector.)

Among the websites which repeat the error are:
Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Jacob Schieffelin, a site with valuable biographical information on one of the founders and a first warden of St. Mary's;
Lost Manhattanville ?, Michael Henry Adams own site - well worth visiting; and
St. Mary's Church - Manhattanville, a site of the American Guild of Organists.  and another page worth visiting.