The stone church at 897 South Columbus Avenue has stood for over 245 years. It replaced a wooden church built on the same spot in 1695.
St. Paul’s has been a place of worship, a military hospital, a polling place, and a burial ground. Today, it is St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, a museum to a special place and time in American history.
St. Paul’s hosted weekly congregations from 1665 to 1977. The 5-acre cemetery behind the church contains more than 9,000 graves spanning three centuries.
The “Great Election of 1733” was held on the Village Green outside St. Paul’s. The trial of a reporter who wrote about the election set a legal precedent regarding freedom of the press.
During the 1776 battle of Pell’s Point, wounded soldiers were treated at St. Paul’s, which was converted briefly into a hospital during the Revolutionary War.
The 20th century saw the decline of St. Paul’s as a religious community. In 1942, Sara Delano Roosevelt, mother of FDR, led a campaign to revive the church by restoring the building to its 1787 appearance.
The restoration has given the church new life as a museum and community venue. You can tour the church and cemetery, attend living history events and cultural programs, and hear the 1833 pipe organ, one of the oldest still in working order.
Did You Know:
The bell in St. Paul’s tower was cast at the same iron foundry that produced the Liberty Bell.