Zion-St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

339-341 East 84th Street
Michael J. Fitz Mahoney
National Register

Over its history, this church has been associated with three German congregations, including one of New York City’s earliest. The inscription above the main entrance still announces (in German) the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Yorkville, which originally commissioned the building. A smaller inscription beside the left entrance lists two dates: 1883, the year that congregation was founded; and 1888, the year the cornerstone was laid. The building, though relatively austere on the interior, proved too costly for the Evangelical congregation to maintain. In 1892, it was sold at auction and the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church moved in. A half century later, in 1946, Zion merged with St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The latter congregation was established around 1847 as a branch of the even older St. Matthew’s, and its original house of worship at 323 East 6th Street still survives. In 1904, St. Mark’s was devastated by the General Slocum tragedy, in which roughly 1,000 people died when an excursion boat caught fire in the East River. The disaster led many Germans to abandon Kleindeutschland, with many moving to Yorkville. St. Mark’s persevered for a number of decades, but it too eventually moved northward, bringing its altar, which still adorns the interior.