The Church of the Transfiguration

Facts and History

The Church of the Transfiguration
In the early 19th century, the Episcopal Church of the United States gained tremendous momentum in New York City and other major urban areas nationwide. In 1848, George Hendric Houghton established a congregation that served the growing population of Episcopal followers in NYC. Just over a year later, this reverend successfully opened a permanent home for the Church of the Transfiguration. The facade of the building was dominated by the Neo-Gothic architectural style. However, records still haven't been found to verify the architect who designed this charming landmark. The original design concept was supposed to mimic the pastoral beauty of rural England. Throughout the years, the church has become somewhat of an urban oasis in the heart of the busy Manhattan. The outbreak of the Civil War created new challenges and missions for the Church of the Transfiguration. Staying true to its core values, the church was actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Slaves who escaped from the American South found refuge in this Episcopal sanctuary. During the New York Draft Riots, some locals attempted to compromise the church's role in the Underground Railroad. However, the founder of the congregation didn't give in to the demands of angry mobs, which consisted mostly of white citizens. After the Civil War, the building was nicknamed the Little Church Around the Corner by a rector from the neighbouring Church of the Atonement. It's believed that the rector came up with the nickname when he referenced to a place of worship that would hold a funeral for a local actor. At the time, many religious institutions condemned actors and entertainers, who were viewed as sinners. However, the Church of the Transfiguration has always been known for preaching and practicing tolerance.

Architecture, Design and Other Features

The Church of the Transfiguration has a charming courtyard that has helped members and visitors escape from the bustle of daily life in the Big Apple. Inspired by the architecture of England in the middle of the 19th century, the two original towers still stand today above the courtyard. At the end of the century, the British architect Frederick Clarke Withers was hired to add a lychgate to the property. The Lady Chapel and Mortuary Chapel expanded the church in the early 1900s. Despite having a relatively modest interior layout, the Church of the Transfiguration boasts some beautiful stained-glass windows that depict saints, biblical scenes and other important figures in the Episcopal denomination. Featuring a cross of St. George, the Anglican-themed crest of the Episcopal Church proudly hangs above the altars.

Visiting The Church of the Transfiguration

The Church of the Transfiguration is located between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue in the southeaster part of Midtown Manhattan. Located only two blocks away from the church, the 28 Street and 33 Street stations get service from the 4 and 6 lines of the New York City subway. The N, Q, R and W trains stop at the Broadway end of the 28 Street station. Additionally, commuter and long-distance rail service is available at Penn Station, which is one of NYC's busiest transportation centres. The Church of the Transfiguration is situated in a heavily commercialized area, so there are plenty of parking garages in the vicinity. You'll also find several Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus stops on 5th Avenue, Broadway and Madison Avenue. When searching for the church, you could use the historic Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park as points of reference.

Location: One East 29th Street, New York City, NY, 10016

Click here to visit The Church of the Transfiguration official website

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