Tuesday, January 31, 2012

St. Francis Xavier in 1899

St. Francis Xavier Church designed by Patrick Charles Keely c. 1882 on West 16th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City pictured in 1899. The church can be seen in the middle of the photo. Only one of the pictured townhouses remain today as the current entrance to Xavier High School while the section closest to the church was demolished c. 1960 and replaced with a modernist gymnasium. The building at the far end (which fronted 6th Avenue) was demolished in the 1960s and replaced with an apartment building. On West 15th Street, where the church and school back up to, a 1920s union building was recently demolished for a roughly 30 story residential building with a 7 floor high school for Xavier in the base (made possible by air-rights transferred from the school and church). Click HERE to see the view as it looks today from West 16th Street on google street view and HERE to see West 15th Street. Click HERE to read Christopher Gray's Streetscapes column on the block. Photo from The New Metropolis, 1899.


archibuff said...

The church still looks amazing although hemmed in by the architectural equivalent of bland tasteless spam. Did somebody really pay the architectural fees to the firms that designed the gymnasium and the red brick apartment house? The old corner building on 6th Ave, possibly a bank, looked beautiful and made a great grouping with the church. The church is definitely a survivor.

The Ancient said...

archibuff --

One of my closest friends spent a couple decades on the outside advisory committee for "an architecture school outside Boston (not Tufts)". He invariably raised hackles when he told the students they should become developers and not architects. It was the only way, he said, that they could make money and be sure that buildings were built correctly.