Designed in two sections by different architects, the Metropolitan Baptist Church (originally the New York Presbyterian Church) is a fine example of the many new churches built in Harlem during the late 19th century at a time when the local church represented wealth and stability to the community. The building is distinguished by a somewhat unusual blend of the Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles, both favored in part for their imposing character, and reflects the importance of its original congregation.
The earlier section of rough-faced limestone church, fronting on West 128th Street, was planned by John Rochester Thomas in 1884. It housed a small lecture room/chapel and was erected with the intention of adding a principal auditorium structure at a later date. The addition, comprising the Seventh Avenue facade and the northern section of the church, was completed in 1890 and designed by Richard R. Davis. Davis’ extension, with its dominating gable and towers, complemented the Thomas design incorporating many details from the earlier structure.
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society