Manor Community Church / Church of the Holy Apostles
350 West 26th Street
1873; expanded and current facade 1907, Samuel Edson Gage
300 Ninth Avenue
1845-46, Minard Lafever; additions 1853-54, Lafever, and 1858, Charles Babcock of Richard Upjohn & Son
Lacking the restrictive covenants imposed by Clement Clarke Moore to the south, the blocks of Chelsea north of 24th Street, called Chelsea Manor, were developed with a mixture of residences, shops, and industry in close proximity. By the mid-19th century, it was a notorious center of vice and threat to vulnerable youth. In 1855, Sunday school advocate R.G. Pardee with help from the South Reformed Dutch Church, set up a mission above a disreputable saloon at Ninth Avenue and 25th Street. In 1866, the mission became an arm of the church, which built Manor Chapel and Mission, now Manor Community Church. Incorporating classrooms and a library, it was completed 1873. Enlarged and given a new façade in 1907, the building’s picturesque Dutch Revival style acknowledges its roots.
Two blocks north, the Church of the Holy Apostles is another of Chelsea’s historic Episcopal congregations, founded as a mission of Trinity Church. It has long had a socially active congregation and been called “one of the most important meeting places in New York City for organizations of the early post-Stonewall gay rights movement.” Architecturally, it is a remarkably original work that defies precise stylistic categorization. Italianate and Romanesque influences can be seen, but it forges a new statement from them. During the urban renewal era of the mid twentieth century, much of the area around it was officially labeled a slum and targeted for redevelopment. In the 1950’s, six entire blocks between Eighth and Ninth Avenues were condemned for the private, middle-income Penn South housing project. The developer agreed to save Holy Apostles, along with Manor Community Church and two other churches. Church of the Holy Apostles is an Individual Landmark and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.