North Dutch Church - 1869

The North Dutch Church, Fulton and William Streets, New York, 1869. Oil on academy board by Edward Lamson Henry (1841–1919). Source: Bequest of Maria DeWitt Jesup, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The North Dutch Church temple, erected by the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church Society, was completed in 1769, at the northwest corner of Fulton and William streets. The site on which the temple was built was part of a large farm and it was donated by John Harpending, a worthy tanner.

The cornerstone was laid on July 2 1767 by James Roosevelt. Construction of the temple was delayed due to lack of funds. It was dedicated on Thursday, May 25, 1769, by Rev. Archibald Laidlie. The pillars were heavy and elaborately carved. The pulpit was of mahogany and a wonderful piece of Dutch carving was imported from the Netherlands.

During the Independence War (1775-1783) the Church was desecrated and dismantled by the British and its pulpit was shipped to England. The pews and woodwork were used for fuel. The building was used for storage, as a hospital and as a prison. In 1872 two, cannons still stood on either corner of the church enclosure on William Street. They were fired when the British fleet attacked the City. After the evacuation of New York by the British troops, in 1783, the church was restored and formally reopened on September 26, 1784. The tower was 60 feet high and the walls were 4 feet thick.

On February 27, 1872, a twenty years' lease of the ground on which the temple stood was offered at auction by the Church, but the auction failed. The reason assigned by the Consistory for its removal was mainly that money would be of benefit in establishing new missions and fields of labor for the church. In November, the same year, the St. Nicholas Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, was consecrated.

In 1875, during the works of demolition the tower fell to the westward, striking the five-story building at 103 Fulton Street. On July 7, 1875, the demolition of the old temple was completed.



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