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St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

About this listing

An American Heritage Site and Locus of Caribbean-American Culture

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Hamilton Heights
Institution, Place of Worship

Place Matters Profile

Written by Julia Lu and Brigitte Bozer

Every day, thousands of City College students walk along Convent Avenue past a pedestaled statue of Alexander Hamilton and the locked doors of St. Luke’s, curious as to what’s hiding inside and why the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury is lurking in the front yard. This church, a place that matters with its rich, longstanding history in Hamilton Heights is under immediate threat -- faced with sale and demolition, and dwindling numbers of churchgoers.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located at the corner of West 141 Street and Convent Avenue, sits on top of a hill in the Hamilton Heights Sugar Hill Historic District. Across the street are the City College campus and Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton’s former home sited within St. Nicholas Park.

The St. Luke’s congregation, established in 1820, first worshipped in a church on fashionable Hudson Street in what is...

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Sources

Adams, Michael Henry. SOAPBOX; Harlem’s Neglected Jewel. New York: The New York Times, December 19, 1993.

Ball, Ankeet. “Ambition & Bondage: An Inquiry on Alexander Hamilton and Slavery” https://columbiaandslavery.columbia.edu/content/ambition-bondage-inquiry-alexander-hamilton-and-slavery

Historic Preservation Studio II. Harlem in Transition. New York: Columbia University GSAPP, 2017.

On the Harlem Battleground. New York: New York Times, June 3, 1895.

Postal, Matthew A. Hamilton Heights Historic District Designation Report. March 28, 2000.

St. Luke’s 95 Years Old. New York: The New York Times, November 5, 1915.

The New St. Luke’s. New York: New York Times, December 19, 1892.

Tuttle, Penelope. History of Saint Luke’s Church in the city of New York, 1820-1920. New York: Appeal Print Co. 1926.

2 Churches in One Parish. New York: The New York Times, May 1, 1942.

Nominations

Julia Lu & Brigitte Bozer

Nominated through Dr. Marta Gutman’s Race, Space and Architecture course, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College, New York, Fall 2017

Our claim here is that the vestry should reverse their favor and go all in on St. Luke’s. Though St. Martin’s has a stronger history of African American activism, St. Luke’s has greater architectural qualities and a deeper patriotic history. This place matters because as Reverend Bradley remarked to the descendants of our Founding Fathers, loyalty to God and to land go hand in hand. Here, as the landscape changed, so did the social fabric of this church and its former parishioners remain loyal to this place. 


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