St. Paul’s Chapel

One of the most impressive buildings I saw during my recent visit to New York City was St. Paul’s Chapel in Lower Manhattan. The Twin Towers used to stand next door to this tiny church, and One World Trade Center is now under construction across the street from it.

St. Paul’s Chapel was built in 1766 and is the only Colonial-era church left in Manhattan. George Washington worshipped here on April 30, 1789, after he took the oath of office to become the first President of the United States.

The building survived the Great Fire of New York in 1776. It also survived the September 11 attacks, and suffered no damage at all other than being covered with dust and debris. It is now known as “the little chapel that stood.”

St. Paul’s became a place of refuge and rest in the days and months following the destruction of the Twin Towers, offering round-the-clock care for the thousands of volunteers working at Ground Zero. Massage therapists, podiatrists, and chiropractors, as well as parish staff, ministered to the firefighters, police, and construction workers. Today the chapel contains several memorials to those first responders and volunteers.

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