6. St. Paul’s Chapel

St. Paul's Chapel

Standing in the shadow of the modern skyscraper of One World Trade, St. Paul’s Chapel holds the title of the only colonial church still in Manhattan. Built in 1766, St. Paul’s was one of two chapels built for Trinity Church, the second being St. George’s which burned down. St. Paul’s almost met a similar fate in the Great Fire of 1777 which destroyed around 500 buildings, but luckily it was saved. The original Trinity Church was lost in that fire, so St. Paul’s became the congregation’s primary church.

George Washington regularly attended services at St. Paul’s until Trinity Church was rebuilt in 1790. In fact, he went to St. Paul’s right after his inauguration at Federal Hall, just a short walk away, in 1789. He sat in a specially designated Presidential Pew. While the pew is no longer there, a painting of one of the earliest known representations of the Great Seal of the United States, commissioned in 1789 to commemorate Washington’s inauguration still hangs above the site where he would have sat. The church is full of original architectural details and a very special monument to General Richard Montgomery. Montgomery was a Revolutionary War officer and the monument to him at St. Paul’s was the first commissioned by the Congress of the United States.