5. Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral (1809-15)

Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 260 Mulberry Street, built 1809-1815.

Built between 1809 and 1815, the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is the original Cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York. 260 Mulberry Street, the site chosen for the church, fell within the second cemetery of St. Peter’s Church (the original graveyard had already become full), so the graves on the site needed to be relocated before construction could begin. When the church opened, St. Patrick’s assumed control of the cemetery, and it continued to be the primary burial place for the Catholic community in New York City. St. Patrick’s Cemetery expanded outward until 1824, and the church also built crypts beneath the church––the only catacombs in Manhattan.

Anti-Catholic violence was common at the time, so St. Patrick’s constructed a 10-foot brick wall around the property in the 1830s to keep the cathedral and its cemetery safe. Mobs frequently stormed the cathedral, attempting to break windows and burn down the building. Between 1835 and 1855, attacks against St. Patrick’s grew so intense that armed parishioners needed to be stationed outside the church to keep watch at night.