St. Joseph of the Holy Family Church (New York City)

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Coordinates: 40°48′42.11″N 73°57′14.75″W / 40.8116972°N 73.9540972°W / 40.8116972; -73.9540972

Not to be confused with the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, St. Joseph's Church, Chinatown (Manhattan) or St. Joseph's Church, Yorkville (Manhattan), all in Manhattan.
Church of St. Joseph
of the Holy Family
St. Joseph of the Holy Family.jpg
General information
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival
Town or cityNew York City
CountryUnited States of America
Construction started1859[1]
1871 (enlarged);[2]
1889 (altered)[2]
ClientRoman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Technical details
Structural systemRed brick masonry
Design and construction
ArchitectHerter Brothers (1889 alteration)[2]
St. Joseph of the Holy Family, Manhattan (Harlem)

The Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at 401 West 125th Street at Morningside Avenue in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is the oldest existing church in Harlem and above 44th Street in Manhattan.[2] On June 28, 2016 it was designated a New York City Landmark.[3]


The parish was established in 1859[1] or 1860 for German Catholics.[2] The first priest to minister to the German-speaking Roman Catholic residents of Manhattanville, was the Rev. D. F. Hartmann, assigned by the archdiocese in 1859.[4] Services were initially held in the chapel on the grounds of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. Although the building has remained in one location, street name changes in Harlem have affected the address. The address listed in 1892 was at 125th Street and the corner of 9th Avenue.[5]

The parish sponsors a weekly food pantry and clothing bank for the community.[6]


Built before the American Civil War, the Romanesque Revival red brick church was built and dedicated in 1860.[2] However, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission interprets the church as an example of the Rundbogenstil design. "St. Joseph’s was not a revival of Romanesque architecture but a new design based on abstracted and simplified interpretation of the Romanesque."[4] Its German style reflects the heritage of the original parishioners, and is also in keeping with the rural nature of the area at the time of construction. Constructed of brick, it has a single bell tower and rounded arched windows. It was enlarged in 1871 and altered in 1889 by the Herter Brothers.[2] As part of the alteration, the window over the entrance became a niche for a statue of St. Joseph holding the infant.[2]


The church had a school and convent affiliated with it, which were located in the former Manhattanville Presbyterian Church, a Greek Revival structure directly behind the church.[2] The parish school was among 27 in the Archdiocese of New York closed by Archbishop Dolan on January 11, 2011.[7][8]



  1. ^ a b 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.342.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7., p.220
  3. ^ Putzier, Konrad (2016-06-28). "Landmarks designates eight new buildings". The Real Deal New York. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  4. ^ a b Percival, Marianne s. "Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family", Landmarks Preservation Commission, Designation List 488 LP-0303, June 28, 2016
  5. ^ The World Almanac 1892 and Book of Facts (New York: Press Publishing, 1892), p.390.
  6. ^ "Parish Life", St. Joseph of the Holy Family Church
  7. ^ McQuillan, Alice. "New York Archdiocese to Close 27 Schools", NBC New York (January 11, 2011) (Accessed 7 February 2011)
  8. ^ Archdiocese of New York, "Reconfiguration Committee Recommendations Regarding 'At-Risk' Schools Accepted by Archdiocese of New York" (press release) Archived 2011-01-17 at the Wayback Machine (January 11, 2011)(Accessed 7 February 2011)

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