Located at 209 Broadway, St. Paul’s Chapel is the oldest surviving church in New York and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. It was in this building that George Washington worshiped the day of his inauguration as the first President of the United States. St. Paul’s served as Washington’s parish church for the two years that New York was the nation’s capital. The Great Seal hangs over the pew that Washington used during this time period.
The building is Georgian style and was modeled after the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, a London sanctuary designed by James Gibbs. There is an oak statue of St. Paul on the Broadway side of the building’s exterior. Memorials and monuments in addition to Washington’s pew include a Neo-baroque sculpture by Pierre L’Enfant and a monument to Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery. The pulpit is adorned with a cornet and the nave by 14 original cut-glass chandeliers.
The chapel survived two devastating events unscathed. In 1776, the Great New York City Fire destroyed nearly a quarter of the city. In 2001, the building was undamaged by the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, which were located across the street. Because of its proximity to Ground Zero, it served as a shelter and refuge for rescue workers. The chapel contains a memorial commemorating the attacks.