Monday, April 26, 2010

☞ WALK: The Carmansville Star of David

The beautiful red brick Saint Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in the section of Hamilton Heights formerly known as Carmansville came to our attention recently because of the main central window of the building's facade. Harlem originally had many Jewish temples over a century ago which were later converted into churches once that community moved further away from the city centers. In most of the cases, all past relics of the buildings previous use would have been removed, so we found it interesting that a Star of David was still intact in this particular building on the corner of 153rd Street and Amsterdam. At the end of the day, Christianity started in Jerusalem so it would make some sense to leave a symbol of the holy land intact. Then again, could this just be a 19th century Protestant icon? The closest subway to this location is the 1 train at 155th street. Photo by Ulysses

7 comments:

  1. Christianity didn't start in Israel. It started in Palestine.

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  2. The Star of David is an architectural feature of many 19th-century Protestant churches.

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  3. The Star of David is an architectural feature of many 19th-Cent. Christian edifices because: 1. In Harlem many church buildings have their beginnings as Synogogues, i.e. Mt. Nebo Baptist Church on ACP Blvd & 114th St. and, 2. Because many Churches want to reflect their ancient Judeo-Christian beginnings in their architecture.

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  4. Based on its Victorian Gothic stylistic elements, the building appears to have been constructed as a church rather than a synagogue. The Moorish Revival style was typically adopted for synagogues built in the late 19th century.

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  5. It is, and has always been, a church:

    http://www.audubonparkny.com/AudubonParkWashingtonHeightsPresbyterianChurch.html

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  6. Harlem historianJune 7, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    Wrong, Anonymous. It was founded as a synagogue. Please check this out in any historical archive! You obviously don't know your Harlem history too well.

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  7. It has always been a church, never a synagogue. William and Sarah Cornell deeded the four lots of land in 1869. In 1896 the NY Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church noted the Cornell's express conditions that their gift was to be “held so long as the said premises shall be used, kept, and maintained and disposed of...as a place of devine worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America..." http://books.google.com/books?id=nNwpAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA18&lpg=RA1-PA18&dq=%22washington+heights+methodist+episcopal+church%22&source=bl&ots=kDe8exXviV&sig=aF4xVfr5nDRDEj-jy5wTcAFNYsg&hl=en&ei=YPuSTtHmHIXa0QGSu9VT&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=%22washington%20heights%20methodist%20episcopal%20church%22&f=false
    The church finally got built circa 1905 as the Washington Heights Methodist Episcopal Church, and later became an African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) church. The church's presence contributed to the Church of the Intercession (Episcopal) being built inside Trinity Church Cemetery at Broadway and 153rd Street instead of facing Amsterdam as originally planned, since it was considered an encroachment of parish territory.

    - Eric K. Washington

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