Our Lady of Esperanza Church

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Church of Our Lady of Esperanza
Photo of church
156th Street facade (2011)
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts/American Renaissance[1]
Town or cityNew York, New York
CountryUnited States of America
Coordinates40°50′2″N 73°56′49.2″W / 40.83389°N 73.947000°W / 40.83389; -73.947000
Construction started1909[2]
Renovated1924 (addition & remodeling)
ClientRoman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Technical details
Structural systemmasonry
Design and construction
ArchitectCharles P. Huntington[2]
Renovating team
ArchitectLawrence G. White of McKim, Mead & White

The Church of Our Lady of Esperanza is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at 624 West 156th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan in New York City.

156th Street facade c. 1921, showing Charles P. Huntington's original design with the stairway entrance

The church is part of Audubon Terrace, which was designated a Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on January 9, 1979,[4] but it is organizationally separate from the museum complex.[3]


The parish was founded by Dona Manuela de Laverrerie de Barril, the wife of the Spanish Consul-General in New York.[3][5] Archer Milton Huntington, the railroad heir and founder of the Hispanic Society of America, was recruited to the cause and funded the project for the second Spanish-speaking Catholic church in New York. The church building was begun in 1909 to designs by Archer's cousin, Charles P. Huntington.[2] The building was enlarged and extended in 1924 by Lawrence G. White, son of Stanford White,[3] including an addition on 156th Street. Previously, the entrance to the church, which sat on a hill, was by way of an outdoor brick stairway with terra cotta balustrades, but White's addition allowed for an entrance at the street level, with the climb to the church occurring via an indoor staircase.[4]

The first pastor, in 1912, was the Rev. Adrian Buisson, formerly pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 229 West 14th Street. Upon his retirement in 1952, the Rev. Francis Soutberg "was appointed Pastor until 1955 when Father Bernard Guillett assumed the position. Presently the Reverend Monsignor Peter O'Donnell is pastor."[3]


  1. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010), AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195383867, pp.558-561
  2. ^ a b c Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986," (Accessed 25 Dec 2010)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Renner, James. "Church Of Our Lady Of Esperanza" (Accessed 27 Dec 2010)
  4. ^ a b New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission "Audubon Terrace Historic District Designation Report" (January 9, 1979)
  5. ^ Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor, The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X. Volume 3: The Province of Baltimore and the Province of New York, Section 1: Comprising the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, Buffalo and Ogdensburg Together with some Supplementary Articles on Religious Communities of Women.. (New York City: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), p. 355.

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