Walking amongst the contemporary architecture and looming skyscrapers of Wall Street, you’ll likely feel like you’ve teleported to a different era when you hit the corner of Broadway and Vesey. That’s because, in some ways, you have. Situated at the corner of the two streets — and sitting just as stoically as it has for the past 250 years — is St. Paul’s Chapel, which was restored in 2016 as closely as possible to its original conception, paint color and all.
Earning national landmark status in 1962 for possessing “exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States,” it’s perhaps unsurprising to learn that words like “first” “oldest” and “only” are frequent descriptors found in contemporary writings about the chapel. Now, after digging even deeper into its history, check out what gems we’ve unearthed about the iconic structure:
10. The 2016 Restoration of St. Paul’s Chapel Removed the Original St. Paul
Although St. Paul’s Chapel’s 2016 renovation did its best to restore the church with as much integrity to the original as possible, one key element had to be replaced: the statue of St. Paul himself. Located in the tympanum of the chapel, the original St. Paul statue literally weathered the storm(s) of over 225 years. However, when it came time to restore the chapel, experts decided the 500-pound statue — which according to the parish website is “thought to be one of the earliest examples of North American sculpture”— had exceeded its time in the sun.
While the original statue has made it back to the church (indoor this time), a replacement St. Paul, made of resin and weighing a more reasonable 200 pounds, is what can be seen from the streets. However, as the next secret reveals, there are still outdoor icons sitting in their original homes.