St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
St Steves Philly 2.jpg
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia) is located in Philadelphia
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia)
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia) is located in Pennsylvania
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia)
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia) is located in the United States
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Philadelphia)
Location19 South 10th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
CoordinatesCoordinates: 39°57′2.61″N 75°9′24.72″W / 39.9507250°N 75.1568667°W / 39.9507250; -75.1568667
ArchitectWilliam Strickland (1822)
Frank Furness (1879)
Architectural styleGothic Revival
NRHP reference No.79002329 [1]
Added to NRHPJune 4, 1979

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is a historic parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, founded in 1823 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and located at 19 South Tenth Street, on the corner of Tenth Street and Ludlow Street. St. Stephen's was designed by William Strickland in the Gothic revival style. It is the oldest extant building in Philadelphia in this style and was designed by an architect-engineer best known for Greek Revival buildings, though, like his mentor Benjamin Latrobe, he produced buildings in other "picturesque" styles as well.[2][3] St. Stephen's first service was held on February 27, 1823. On June 4, 1979, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[4] On May 28, 1957, it was designated a historic landmark by the Philadelphia Historical Commission.[5]


Franklin Kite Plaque

Called “bold” in its time, St. Stephen’s is an example of Philadelphia’s earliest Gothic Revival buildings that responded to the great local demand for this type since the 1780s. Long considered “misunderstood” Gothic, this early or “Georgian” Gothic, popular in 18th-century Britain, recalls the architecture of Protestant Tudor England (1485-1603) rather than the high Gothic of the Pre-Reformation 12th century that inspired the familiar Gothic Revival from the 1830s on.[6] Architect Frank Furness added a transept and vestry room in 1878.

A plaque on the outside front wall, apparently unrelated to the oval Philadelphia Historical Commission marker above it, reads: "THIS CHURCH IS BUILT ON THE SITE WHERE BENJ. FRANKLIN FLEW HIS FAMOUS KITE," though the history of the marker is unclear, and apparently unrelated to the oval Philadelphia Historical Commission marker above it.


The sanctuary contains a great deal of artwork from throughout the church's history. Sculptor Carl Johann Steinhauser was commissioned to create two sculptures for the church: the "Angel of the Resurrection" (also known as the Burd Children's Memorial) in 1852 and the Burd Baptismal font, completed in 1857. Architect Richard Upjohn designed a side chapel (1849-1853) to house the Burd Children's Monument. Other artwork includes the Burd Canopy Tomb (c. 1860), designed by architect Frank Wills and sculpted by Henry Kirke Brown; various memorials to former rectors; and, until it was purchased by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2004, the sculpture The Angel of Purity by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.[2][7]

The sanctuary features stained glass windows created by D'Ascenzo Studios as well as Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany Studios. Architect Henry Holiday designed two of the stained glass windows in the sanctuary in addition to the Venetian glass mosaic of The Last Supper (1887-1889) above the altar.[7]


In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the rector is the priest elected to head a self-supporting parish.

  • Rev. Dr. James Montgomery (1823-1834)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. H. W. Ducachet (1834-1865)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. William Rudder (1865-1880)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. Samuel D. McConnell (1882-1896)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. Elwood Worcester (1896-1904)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. Carl E. Grammer (1905-1936)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. Vincent C. Franks (1937-1939)[8]
  • Rev. Dr. Alfred W. Price (1942-)[8]
  • Rev. Roy Hendricks (1971-1983)
  • Rev. Patricia A. Oglesby, interim (1983-1985)
  • Rev. Robert A. Schiesler (1985-1990)
  • Rev. Charles T. Flood Priest-in-Charge and then rector (1990-2016)
  • Rev. Peter Kountz, PhD, Vicar (2016-2019) and then Priest-in-Residence (2019–present) [9]
  • Rev. Michael Giansiracusa, Vicar (2019–present)[10]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Martin Aurand, 1978, NRHP Nomination Form for St. Stephen's Church Enter "public" for ID and "public" for password to access the site.
  3. ^ "Strickland, William (1788-1854), architect and engineer". American National Biography. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1700838. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  4. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". National Archives Catalog. Retrieved April 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Philadelphia Register of Historic Places" (PDF). Philadelphia Historical Commission. November 16, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Lindfield, Peter (2016). Georgian gothic : medievalist architecture, furniture and interiors, 1730-1840. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1-78204-838-1. OCLC 958570942.
  7. ^ a b "Historical Art and Architecture". St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Retrieved April 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h mjk38 (2014-08-28). "The Rich Heritage of 125 Years of Christian Service: St. Stephen's Church in the City of Philadelphia (1948)". Philadelphia Studies. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  9. ^ "St. Stephen's Church". Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  10. ^ "Staff". St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Retrieved April 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]