St. Agnes Chapel (New York City)

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The Former Episcopal Chapel of St. Agnes
General information
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Town or city New York, New York
Country United States of America
Construction started 1890
Completed 1892
Demolished 1943
Client The Episcopal Church in the United States
Technical details
Structural system Limestone masonry
Design and construction
Architect William Appleton Potter

St. Agnes Chapel was an Upper West Side Episcopal "plant chapel" of Trinity Church (New York City), one of many. It was located at 121-147 West 91st Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. It was at first reused by its parish school and then demolished for a gymnasium in the 1940s.[1]

Like many large buildings in the 19th century, St. Agnes was the product of an architectural competition. Announced in July 1888, Trinity Corporation had already invited six architects: Charles C. Haight, Henry M. Congdon, Frederick C. Withers, Richard M. Hunt, William Halsey Wood, and McKim Mead & White. Each of them received $1,000 compensation, but other architects were invited to submit designs and would be paid, if chosen. Instead, the jury selected an entry from William Appleton Potter, son of Episcopal Bishop Alonzo Potter.[2]

The church was built between 1890 and 1892 by William Appleton Potter. The New York Times described St. Agnes as “the finest church structure, barring the cathedral, in New York City.”[3] A parish school was located adjacent, sharing its midblock location. Downtown Trinity Parish reexamined the small congregation in 1934, already split from nearby Episcopal churches, and decided to close it. Eager to expand, the parish school, also named Trinity, bought it as a gymnasium space and demolished it for a more permanent structure in 1943.[4]

The St Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library, now half a mile away, was founded by the parish.[5]


  1. ^ J. Russiello, A Sympathetic Planning Hierarchy for Redundant Churches: A Comparison of Continued Use and Reuse in Denmark, England and the United States of America (MSc Conservation of Historic Buildings, University of Bath, 2008), p. 129.
  2. ^ The Engineering and Building Record, 28 July 1888, p. 99
  3. ^ “Landmarks Preservation Commission,” p. 6.
  4. ^ Margaret Maliszewski, “Designation List 219: “Trinity School and the Former St. Agnes Parish House,” (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1989), p. 5-6.
  5. ^ St Agnes Branch, New York Public Library

Coordinates: 40°47′26″N 73°58′18″W / 40.7906°N 73.9717°W / 40.7906; -73.9717

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