St. Paul's Chapel

June 5, 2008
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St. Paul's Chapel is an aesthetic place of refuge, a haven, with an awe-inspiring history. Constructed in 1766, St. Paul's Chapel has had a myriad of encounters with disasters. Built by master craftsman Andrew Goutier, St. Paul's Chapel is located in Manhattan, on the corner of Broadway and Fulton streets, directly across the street from Ground Zero. It was built in Georgian Classic - Revival architectural style, and built to resemble St. Martin- in - the - Fields in London. It includes a spire, erected 1766 with two bells. The first built in 1797 inscribed "Mears London, Feat 1797" and the second built in 1866 to celebrate its 100th anniversary. St. Paul's Chapel is currently Manhattan's only pre - Revolutionary Colonial church. It is also Manhattan's oldest building kept up to date with maintenance procedures.

St. Paul's Chapel has been renowned for its history with eminent figures of the past. George Washington had his inauguration there on April 30, 1789. He worshipped there regularly and had his own 18th century oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States on his pew, which was adopted in 1782. Other historical figures to visit St. Paul's were King William of England, Lord Cornwallis and presidents Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and our current president, George W. Bush. St. Paul's Chapel was temporarily the nation’s capital from 1788 to 1790 before it was changed to Philadelphia, pointing to the fact that it is has played a big role in the nation’s history.

St. Paul's Chapel is often referred to as "The Chapel of Ease" because of its homely, allaying build, contrary to the conventional imposing, intimidating figures taken on by most major churches and chapels. It has served as a beacon of hope and people have often turned towards it both during despairing and extenuating circumstances. It has experienced many tumultuous times. One such example is the Great New York City Fire of 1776. In this fire, New York was under siege from the British in the Battle of Long Island. This fire set aflame and razed around one-fourth to one-third of all buildings in New York City. This conflagration burned down Trinity Church, a sister church of St. Paul’s, and St. Paul's was narrowly saved by a valiant bucket brigade.

But the most accentuated tragedy St. Paul's has ever experienced is probably the terrorist attack on 9/11. This was a major catastrophe in which St. Paul's Chapel played one of the most vital roles. Though located directly across from Ground Zero, when the volatile, incendiary explosion took place, St. Paul's Chapel was inconceivably unharmed. Though covered with thick soot, not so much as a window of the chapel cracked. Meanwhile, sky scrapers all around it took heavy damage. People were baffled and decided to dub the chapel "The Little Chapel that Stood". The reason the chapel was saved? A sycamore was previously existent in the northwest corner and was scapegoated, it took most of the debris. Its roots have been preserved in bronze by Steve Tobin.

The chapel was declared safe and recovery teams manipulated the chapel as the base. More than 5,000 people volunteered their time and effort, running 12 hour shifts per day, 7 days per week. Recovery took about 260 days, or around 8 months, and 500,000 meals as well as the comfort from others and many more things. People of an array of occupations volunteered their skills into recovery. Massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists and musicians all came in and served. St. Paul's Chapel was noted for its unwavering spirit and the hope and healing of Ground Zero.

Today, it is an Episcopal church and an exhibit. It displays panels of gifts for the recovery teams and the dead. It also explains a lot on what happened on 9/11 during the 8 month period and what an essential role St. Paul's Chapel played during the recovery stages proceeding. St. Paul's Chapel is an awe-striking place of many past deeds of hope and healing. It is an emblematic place with many memories not to be forgotten. St. Paul's Chapel is most definitely a place worth looking in to.





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