The New York City Floating Church

I ran across the story below and photo at the New York City Chapter of The American Guild of Organists on their website and had to share. This was the church that I attended until I went into the US Army. I have fond memories of All Saints Episcopal and have always been fascinated how, in 1914, this building was moved from its home on New York City waters to a foundation that was up on a fairly high hill.

All Saints’ Episcopal Church began as a mission Sunday School of Church of the Ascension. It was founded the evening of All Saints’ Day 1889 by Mrs. Susan DeHart in a private building in Mariners’ Harbor on Shore Road (now Richmond Terrace). The mission was moved to Franklin Hall, at the corner of Harbor Road on December 1, 1891, and again later to Central Avenue (now DeHart Avenue).

When the Rev. William Mix became rector in October 1909, the parish burdened with debt. At this time the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York had vacated its floating chapel on the East River known as the Church of our Savior. It was offered to the church and a suitable location was secured for it in the Kill Van Kull in Mariners' Harbor opposite Van Name Avenue. The floating chapel and its organ were moved just after Christmas in 1910.

For nearly four years the chapel served the congregation at the waterfront before it was moved to a land site at Richmond Terrace opposite Van Name Avenue. A foundation was built and on July 31, 1914, the chapel was freed from its mooring and moved to the new location. The church was used at once for services although the cornerstone was not laid until the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Parish, on November 1, 1914 (All Saints' Day).

On December 26, 1958, a devastating fire almost completely destroyed the building. Unfortunately, the insurance did not cover the loss, so the children and young people of the parish set up a booth at the New York ferry terminal and collected $6,500.00 toward building a new church. For the next several years the congregation worshipped in Graniteville Methodist Church and at Sailors' Snug Harbor chapel. The old property was sold to the V.F.W. Post who demolished the church and built a clubhouse on the site. Land for a new church was purchased by the Diocese on the corner of Victory Boulevard and Woolley Avenue. On All Saints’ Day, 1964, the cornerstone of the new church was laid, and the first service was held on February 22, 1965.

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