4. St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery (1795-99)

St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery on 131 East 10th Street, built 1795-99.

St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery is the second oldest church structure in Manhattan. It is also the oldest location to be continuously occupied by a church. In 1654 Governor Peter Stuyvesant built a small chapel for his family’s personal use. The chapel and the land remained in the possession of the Stuyvesant family for over 100 years before they sold it to Trinity Church in 1793. In 1795, on St. Mark’s Day, the cornerstone of the new church was laid on the same site.

Despite the two-year gap between the sale of the first church and the construction of the second, an official statement by the church in 1899 asserts the bodies of the Governor and his family, who had been buried under the chapel when they died, “preserved the hallowed character” of the location. John McComb Jr. (the architect who built City Hall) completed the building in 1799, although the steeple and porch were added later. Although Trinity had paid for the church to be built and was, according to the charter of 1697, the only parish church in New York City, Alexander Hamilton helped incorporate St. Mark’s as an independent Episcopal parish. The church is still in operation today.