Monday, December 02, 2013

A Moment Back In Time: The Founding Of St. Paul's Church On Clinton Street At Carroll Street

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The wooden structure that first housed the St. Paul's congregation
The Gothic Revival church designed by Richard M. Upjohn, which still stands today.
vintage photos courtesy of St. Paul's Church



For all those who enjoy the past, here is a beautiful video of the history of St. Paul's Church at 199 Carroll Street right here in Carroll Gardens. The video was made in celebration of the church's 160th anniversary and highlights its story and that of its "volunteer parishioners who kept the church going through good times and bad times."
St. Paul's was  founded on Christmas Day of 1849 in a stable on lower Union Street.  By 1850, the congregation had swelled in numbers and soon after constructed its first house of worship, a simple wooden building on a plot of land that had once been part of the elegant John Rankin home on Clinton Street.
Just ten years later, the growing congregation had outgrown this first structure and  "inspired ideas of a more noble and permanent church were beginning to rise in the hearts and minds of its congregants."

Parishioner Richard M. Upjohn, an influential American architect and co-founder and president of the American Institute of Architects, volunteered his free services to design a new Gothic Revival structure. In 1869, "a mere twenty years since its founding", the congregation was able to raise enough money to lay the cornerstone for the structure that stands at the corner of Clinton Street and Carroll Street today.

In the 1980s, the aging church structure was in desperate need of costly structural repairs. A major fire in 1987 damaged the roof, stained glass windows and much of the interior of the building.  The congregation vowed to save the church and started a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of an ambitious renovation, which ultimately saved the structure.

St. Paul's Church was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places in 1991.

The video highlights beautiful old photos of the church and features recollections by life-long parishioners.
I am sure you will enjoy this glimpse into the past of St. Paul's and the neighborhood's history.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look at the height of that structure! So out of place with the rest of the neighborhood. Development that tall has no place here, what is this, Hong Kong?

Katia said...

Very funny!

Jim Kenna said...

During the late 1960's and early 1970's Father Donald Irish, the Rector of St. Paul's, was an active and supportive member of the Carroll Gardens Brownstoners. He was a kind, decent and charming man. He graciously offered the church for house tours and the rectory for meetings. His church and his heart were beautiful.