Church of the Intercession (Manhattan)

Chapel of the Intercession Complex

Location 550 West 155th Street
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates Coordinates: 40°49′56″N 73°56′50″W / 40.83222°N 73.94722°W / 40.83222; -73.94722
Built 1912-1915[1]
Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue[2]
Architectural style church: Late English Gothic Revival, and others[2]
vicarage: Tudor Revival[3]
NRHP Reference # 80002677[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 24, 1980
Designated NYCL August 16, 1966

The Church of the Intercession is an Episcopal congregation located at 550 West 155th Street, at Broadway, on the border of the Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan, New York City, on the grounds of Trinity Church Cemetery. The congregation was founded in 1846, and the current sanctuary, built in 1912-15, was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in the Gothic Revival style. From 1906-1976, it was a chapel of Trinity Church.[1]

The Church of the Intercession and its Tudor Revival vicarage were designated New York City Landmarks in 1966,[2][3] and the complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[5]


The congregation which became the Church of the Intercession was founded in 1846 in Carmansville, a hamlet which would later be known as Audubon Park before becoming part of the Washington Heights neighborhood,[6] by John James Audubon and John R. Morewood; it was incorporated in 1847.[1] Services were inititially held in Morewood's home, with members who came from both Trinity Church on Broadway and Wall Street, and from the Church of the Ascension at Fifth Avenue and 10th Street.

In 1847, the congregation completed building their first sanctuary, a Victorian Gothic style wooden structure at West 154th Street and Tenth Avenue (now Amsterdam Avenue). The building's outline can still be seen on what was the adjoining building. In 1871, the vestry decided to move the parish and sell the building.[1]

The congregation's next church was a stone building designed by Rembrandt Lockwood[7] and located at 158th Street and Grand Boulevard, which is now Broadway.[8] However, dissension within the congregation suppressed financial support for the parish, which became insolvent; the church as attached by the sheriff, and services proceeded only on the sufferance of the authorities.[1]

Eventually, the congregation was able to recover the church, but by 1906 it was overcrowded, and the parish was still in debt. To alleviate these problems, a deal was struck with Trinity Church, which had intended to build a chapel on the grounds of its cemetery, to disestablish the Church of the Intercession as an independent parish, to become a Trinity Chapel, the Chapel of the Intercession.[9] The cornerstone of a new sanctuary was laid in 1912, and the building was consecrated in 1915. The architect, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson,[10] was a master of the Gothic Revival style, and the resulting church is considered to be his masterpiece.[1] Goodhue incorporated elements from other styles into the building, such as the narrow and tall entrances which evoke the English Perpendicular style, while the Decorated Period can be seen in the tracery of the pointed windows, and the tower suggests the Tudor style.[2]

The congregation again became an independent parish[10] in 1976.[7]

Notable facts

Front facade of the church (2009)

See also



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "A Brief History of the Church of the Intercession" on the church website
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission "Chapel of the Intercession Designation Report" (August 16, 1966)
  3. 1 2 New York Landmarks Preservation Commission "Vicarage of the Chapel of the Intercession Designation Report" (August 16, 1966)
  4. National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  5. Text and Photos on the National Park Service website
  6. Grinnell, George Bird. "Audubon Park: A Brief History" (part 1) on the Audubon Park website
  7. 1 2 3 Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7., p.112
  8. "Church of the Intercession (second location)" on the Audubon Park website
  9. "Church of the Intercession" on the Audubon Park website
  10. 1 2 3 White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot; Leadon, Fran (2010), AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195383867, p.558
  11. "City Architecture Stars in '666 Park'". The Wall Street Journal. 2012-09-28.
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