Remembering a Landmark: Serbian Orthrodox Catherdal of St. Sava

The landmark Richard Upjohn cathedral was located in Manhattan on 25th street and Broadway, Beyond My Ken

The landmark Richard Upjohn cathedral was located in Manhattan on 25th street and Broadway, Beyond My Ken

This past weekend, New York City lost a beautiful landmark. The Trinity Chapel, now known as the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, suffered a devastating fire. The building presently stands in ruin and its future unknown. The chapel was designed by a contemporary of James Renwick, Jr., an architect known as Richard M. Upjohn (1828-1903). The Gothic revival structure opened one year before the Smallpox Hospital and served the community for over 160 years. To remember the building, we publish today three Upjohn drawings from its original construction. Like Renwick, Upjohn had terrific craft and architectural skill.

In 1968, the Landmarks Preservation Commission described St. Sava as "an excellent example of the large metropolitan church done in the English Gothic Revival style. It is a pleasing edifice, rugged in character, of substantial construction, and reinforced with large buttresses which give it both durability and permanence." The building had a "special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City." The building was designated a New York City landmark in 1968 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Cathedral interior, Kent G. Becker

Cathedral interior, Kent G. Becker

Architectural Details by Richard M. Upjohn

Architectural plan and elevations of the original church podium, Library of Congress

Architectural plan and elevations of the original church podium, Library of Congress

Architectural detail of the choir stalls, Library of Congress

Architectural detail of the choir stalls, Library of Congress

Floor plan and elevations of the church altar, Library of Congress

Floor plan and elevations of the church altar, Library of Congress