Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
351 East 74th Street
Church: R. H. Robertson, 1888;
Neighborhood House: Ludlow & Peabody, 1915
Designed in what can be described as the Bohemian Gothic Revival style, this church stands as a symbol of Yorkville’s Czech immigrant community. Named for Jan Hus, a 14th century Czech priest, the church was originally founded in 1877 by Hungarian missionary Rev. Gustav Albert Alexy, and borrowed meeting space from a nearby German sanctuary. The parish grew to become the First Evangelical Bohemian Presbyterian Church, serving New York’s Czech-speaking population. In 1888, seeking its own building, the parish commissioned this church on East 74th Street. By the 1950s, most of the Czech community had left Yorkville, so it has catered to a diverse population over the years. The structure itself features a tall, square tower topped with a shingle-clad spire, evoking the iconic towers of Prague. The Neighborhood House to the east was added in 1915 to celebrate Czech folk music, dance and marionette theater, as well as to serve broader needs of the Czech community, including job training, a dental clinic, clubs, athletics and language classes. By the 1950s, it also became a performance venue known as the Jan Hus Playhouse Theater, which is still in operation. Today, its other mission is outreach and advocacy for the homeless.