The richly ornamented, polychrome St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church was built in 1902-04 to the design of William W. Renwick based on Italian Gothic prototypes, an unusual source of stylistic inspiration for buildings in New York City. Named after the 16th-century Italian St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the church was organized in 1899 by Rev. John A. McKenna and constructed during a church-building campaign in Harlem to accommodate the growing immigrant population.
W.W. Renwick, nephew of noted architect James Renwick, Jr., joined his uncle’s firm in 1885 and became a junior partner in 1890. In his work in that firm and its successors, and in independent practice after 1900, he specialized in ecclesiastical architecture and decoration.
The intricate facade of St. Aloysius, considered one of W.W. Renwick’s most important commissions, consists of alternating bands of red brick, celadon-colored glazed brick (by the Grueby Faience Co.), and glazed “granitex” (with the color and texture of grey granite) terra cotta with cobalt blue accents (by the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Co.) in a wide variety of molded motifs.
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
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Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
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Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society
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City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director
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