St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church, Staten Island

Address: 7558 Amboy Road
Constructed: 1861
LPC Action: Public Hearing 10/01/1991
LPC Backlog Hearing: Removed from the calendar without prejudice

LPC Statement of Significance:

St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church was completed in 1862 for a new congregation formed in 1856 in the growing village of Tottenville. This location at the corner of Amboy Road and Swinnerton Street was more convenient than that provided by its parent church, the venerable Bethel Methodist Church, established in Richmond Valley soon after Bishop Francis Asbury's preaching mission there in 1806.

The center section of the gabled brick facade is articulated by a triply-recessed blind round arch trimmed with contrasting coursing; it frames bifurcated round-arched stained-glass windows which surmount a round-arched portal. The smaller flanking windows are similarly framed. The gable cornice and the returns on the face and flanks of the facade are supported on arched corbel tables, a characteristic feature of the Romanesque Revival style. A bell tower was once located at the peak of the facade gable and the original projecting entrance porch has been removed. The side facades of the church have tall round-arched stained-glass windows set within recessed rectangular panels. The contrast between the relatively unadorned side walls and the complexly articulated main facade is heightened by the deeper hue of the facade of bricks.

According to the authors of Staten Island and its People (1930), Charles W. Leng and William T. Davis, a new building for Sunday school purpose was purposes was built in 1883. It has not yet been determined if the Sunday school building is the present central section of the building--which appears in c. 1898 photograph--extending along Swinnerton Avenue, or the small freestanding wood-frame structure at the rear of the lot. The rear section of the church building is a twentieth-century addition. The L-shaped site is occupied by a parking lot adjacent to the church.

When dedicated, St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church was a building quite unlike the earlier Methodist churches on Staten Island because of its masonry construction and its relatively sophisticated design. Today the church remains a striking feature of Tottenville's town center.


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