Early Days

OF first building 1666

Our first building and site, established 1666

Our well-suited nickname is Old First, as we were one of the first congregations in New York City. In 1654, Governor Pieter Stuyvesant established three “collegiate” churches: in Park Slope, Flatbush and Flatlands. Through various changes in locations and configurations, the churches survived and celebrated their 350th anniversary in 2004.

The first worship services were conducted under a tree, then in a barn. By 1666, the first church structure was built in a town then known as Breukelen — now known as Fulton Street.

OF bw squareA century later, the original church was replaced and a burial ground was added (this land is now occupied by Macy’s, on Fulton between Lawrence and Bridge Streets — the burial ground had since been transferred to the Green-Wood cemetery).

A number of moves followed in the 19th century, with the original congregation subdividing as well. The current location, at Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street, saw its first church structure completed in 1886. The iconic church we now know was dedicated in 1891.

In 1894, a New York Times review of the church stated that “[it] was full of a Sunday morning,” which still rings true today.

 

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Photo by Tom Manning