There are more than 100 National Historic Landmarks in New York City, and now, another site can be added to that list: The Department of the Interior announced that the stunning St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, located on Park Avenue and 50th Street, is one of 10 newly designated national landmarks.
"These 10 new national historic landmarks reveal important pieces of our nation’s diverse heritage through art, architecture and stories of community and identity," Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement. Other sites chosen this year include the Mississippi State Capitol building, the James Merrill House in Connecticut, and "the only surviving earthen anthropomorphic mound in North America," located in Wisconsin.
Some backstory on St. Bart’s: The Park Avenue building, the third one the congregation has occupied, was designed by Bertram Goodhue (though part of the facade, from one of the church’s earlier iterations, was a Stanford White joint) and and opened in 1930, 12 years after construction initially began.
It was designated a New York City landmark back in 1967, and was at the center of a lawsuit over the addition of a 47-story tower to the spot where the church’s community house currently stands. (The church wanted the skyscraper to go up, the city didn’t; the latter ultimately prevailed, preserving the structure as-is.)
It’s been a good year for national landmarks and monuments in New York—the Stonewall National Monument was made official over the summer, and now this. Getting the city’s seal of approval as a landmark is one thing, but the federal designation offers a whole other level of protection for historic sites.
Here’s what the DOI had to say about St. Bart’s:
St. Bartholomew’s Church is a pivotal example of the work of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and an outstanding example of early 20th-century ecclesiastical architecture. Begun in 1918 and completed in 1930, St. Bartholomew’s is a colorful Romanesque structure with Byzantine features and rich decoration. Goodhue’s masterful design is a successful realization of complex functional, aesthetic, and spiritual requirements: a harmonious setting for the Romanesque triple portal and the best spatial arrangement and distribution of masses in which all can see and hear the preacher, view the altar and participate in the service.
A much-deserved honor, indeed.