St. Paul's Restores its Look Ahead of 250th Anniversary

St. Paul's Chapel in Lower Manhattan is celebrating its 250th anniversary this month. Believed to be Manhattan's oldest public building in continuous use, it just got a major facelift. NY1's Michael Scotto filed this reporrt: 

Spruced up and repainted, St. Paul's Chapel is open to worshipers again after a seven-figure facelift.

For three months, construction teams refurbished the entire interior, which hadn't undergone an extensive renovation since the 1960s. NY1 toured the work late last month.

"We've chopped into walls, we've recessed cable conduit, we have replastered and repaired every surface," Trinity Church project manager Luke Johns said.

Workers restored shine to chandeliers that had grown dull from a quarter-inch of dust, and they cleaned nearly two dozen plaques using something you'd expect to find at a dessert table.

"The molasses is spread on, the paint is done and then it is removed and the paint is left inside the lettering," Johns said.

One of the most noticeable changes - the color of the walls. Once pink, they have now been restored to what they likely looked like when the church was built. 

Officials hired conservators to examine paint samples and determine the original color.

The renovations occurred in advance of the chapel's 250th anniversary on October 30th.

The chapel was constructed in 1766 - nine years before the Revolutionary War began - to accommodate the surging population of lower Manhattan.

"As the city grew and as the congregation grew, there was additional need for more worship space," said Anne Petrimoulx, archivist at Trinity Church.

Over the last two and a half centuries, it has been the site of some important American history.

"One of the things that we like to bookmark the history here with is that George Washington came and prayed here after his first inauguration," said Reverend Phillip Jackson, a vicar of St. Paul's Chapel.

In the days and months after 9/11, the chapel, just steps from the World Trade Center, served as a place of reprieve for emergency workers.

As the renovation was winding down, Reverend Jackson looked in awe at the restored building.

"It takes my breath away. It's so beautiful," Jackson said.

For more information, visit trinitywallstreet.org.

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