Monday, September 6, 2010

INSIDE: St. Ann & The Holy Trinity

I've walked by it every day for a decade, never realizing the majestic beauty and historic significance inside St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church—declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987—and mere blocks from my home here in Brooklyn Heights.

Fortunately, while working for the U.S. Census Bureau, I stopped in to solicit space to conduct training, so was able to grab an insider's view of the guts of the place. Aside from the main sanctuary, there are offices and a choir rehearsal room upstairs, as well as the Museum of Toys. Our coop has held its annual meeting in the large (barren) meeting room beside the worship area for years.

The Church of the Holy Trinity was completed by Brooklyn paper merchant Edgar Bartow in 1847, designed by noted architect Minard LaFever in the Gothic Revival style. By the 1960s, the church had severely deteriorated and was closed, until the oldest Episcopal parish in Brooklyn, St. Ann’s, relocated in the building as St. Ann & the Holy Trinity in 1969. Below, views of the church in 1910.Sadly, the structure is in need of major renovations, which are ongoing at a crawl, but the sanctuary remains a site to behold—and continues to hold weekly services and recitals. I was able to photograph inside with gracious permission from the choir director.The windows of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church were executed between 1845 and 1848. The six sets comprising 7000 square feet of stained glass by William Jay Bolton total 54 glass installations today. One remaining is on display in the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bolton’s organ loft window is on permanent exhibition in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Below, the curved mahogany staircase that climbs to the organ above the sanctuary; and a look down the curved stairway from the top.
The Peabody Memorial Organ, completed in 1925, located in the rear of the sanctuary, has five keyboards and 4,718 pipes. I bet Partridge Family songs kick ass on that mother! The landmark-designated organ is the largest and most complete of Ernest M. Skinner's existing works in New York City.