New York, USA

Marble Collegiate Church, New York, USA

The church which eventually became Marble Collegiate Church was originally organised by the Dutch West India Company in 1628 as the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. It is the oldest Protestant organisation in North America.

The earliest services were held in a loft in South William Street, and the first church was erected in 1633 in Pearl Street. In 1696 New Amsterdam became New York and William III granted the church a Royal Charter. This was confirmed in 1753 by the New York Legislature and is the oldest corporation in America.

The church on 5th Avenue and 29th Street was begun in 1851 and dedicated in October 1854. The architect was Samuel A. Warner and it is known as the Marble Church because it was constructed from blocks of solid marble. At the time New York City only extended to 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, so the approach to the church was up a dirt road and it was ring fenced with a cast iron fence to keep cattle out of the churchyard!

The bell of the church has tolled on the death of every president since Van Buren in 1862. The spire is 215 feet high and the clock was installed in 1957. A programme of restoration was completed in 2000.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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