6. Trinity Church Burial Vaults

The nave of Trinity Church Wall Street featuring a colorful stained glass window and gothic arches.

Below Trinity Church Wall Street is the formerly forgotten vault of the Bleecker family. Bleecker family burials in the vault took place from 1791 to 1884, meaning the vault pre-dates the current Trinity Church Wall Street structure consecrated in 1846. After the final burial in 1884, save for the burial of one set of ashes years later, the family vault largely fell out of use, and out of mind. In 1981, Richard Bleecker, a descendant of the Bleecker family asked the church if the vault was still accessible. This was the first request the church received from a Bleecker descendant in decades, and they weren’t sure. It took nearly another twenty years to gain access.

In 2000, Richard and church staff descended beneath the floor of the church and uncovered the intact vault. According to another Bleecker family descendent who recounted the vault’s story for CNN, tragedy struck just two years later when construction workers disturbed the coffins. The vault was eventually restored with a new entrance, new shelves for ashes, and a gravel floor. A ceremony was held inside the church to reconsecrate the vault in October 2016. Other artifacts have been found under Trinity Church including old bottles and battery oil, but so far nothing like the buried treasure Nicholas Cage finds in National Treasure.