Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Trinity Church

At the very top of Wall Street, where it meets Broadway, anyone can easily spot Trinity Church, a serene survivor of early New York.

The congregation of Trinity Episcopal Church is one of the oldest in the USA, having been established in 1697 under charter by King William III. At that time, the crown granted them a prime piece of real estate at the current location, where a church building has stood ever since. 

The current Trinity Church is the third building to stand at that location, being designed by American Institute of Architects co-founder William Upjohn and was consecrated on Ascension Day in 1846. Upjohn was known as a leader of the American Gothic Revival movement. 

His magnificent design made Trinity Church one of the first and finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the United States. 

Upjohn's designs were of "high church" style, much different than many of the simple Protestant churches being erected in and around the city. It was considered "too flashy". However Upjohn had a different view, giving us the rich characteristics the church has to this day. The remainder of the interior conforms to the rubrics of traditional Gothic architecture as well. The church's spire soars to a height of 86 metres and for many years it was the highest point in the city.

Trinity Church graveyard contains some of the oldest graves in the city, including that of Alexander Hamilton, the US's first Secretary of the Treasury, who owned a house at 33 Wall Street and was killed in a duel with Aaron Burt. A small museum offers a look at the original charter, among other historic artefacts.

The gates of this historic church have served as an impromptu memorial to the victims of 9/11, with countless tokens of remembrance left by both locals and visitors alike.    

Many probably viewed Trinity Church play an important role in the film National Treasure, starring Nicholas Cage, where it stood over the allegedly largest treasure in the world.  

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