St. Nicholas Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church

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St. Nicholas Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church

From The American Cyclopædia of 1879
General information
Architectural style Gothic Revival architecture
Town or city New York City
Country United States
Construction started ?
Completed 1872
Demolished 1949
Cost ?
Technical details
Structural system Brownstone Gothic
Design and construction
Architect W. Wheeler Smith

St. Nicholas Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church was a Reformed Protestant Dutch church in Midtown Manhattan, New York City that at the time of its demolition in 1949 was the oldest congregation in Manhattan. The church was located on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 48th Street near the Rockefeller Center. The church was built in 1872 to Gothic Revival designs in brownstone by architect W. Wheeler Smith and "distinguished by an elegantly tapered spire that, according to John A. Bradley in the New York Times , 'many declare…the most beautiful in this country.'" The congregation dated back to 1628.


St Nicholas's was the New York City church attended by Theodore Roosevelt, and a memorial service was held for him on January 30, 1919. [1]

In the 1920s, during the construction of the Rockefeller Center, the governing body of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Churches of New York considered putting the church up for sale, which prompted an early preservation campaign in New York with the Rev. Dr, Joseph R. Sizoo, the church’s minister, arguing that the church was “a shrine” and its sale would put the dollar sign before the cross. [2] Despite initial success, the pastor, Rev. Dr. Malcolm James MacLeod, later reneged on the church's intention to sell to the Rockefeller complex for as much as $7 million. [3] the tension between the minister with congregation and the pro-sale church governing body led most of the congregation and Sizoo to leave. The governing body pitched the sale again in 1946, [4] and after "considerable public debate", a deal was made in 1949. [5] The church was demolished to make way for the Sinclair Oil Company Building at 596 (now 600) Fifth Avenue. [2]

The bell of the church came from the Middle Collegiate Church, built in the 1830s on Lafayette Place (now Lafayette Street) after it was abandoned. After the demolition of St Nicholas's, the bell was relocated to the New Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue, Manhattan. [6]

List of pastors


  1. Memorial service for Theodore Roosevelt in his ancestral church, the Church of St. Nicholas: January thirtieth, A.D. 1919 (Lehmaier Press, 1919)
  2. 1 2 Stern, Robert A. M., Mellins, Thomas, and Fisman, David. New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism between the Second World War and Bicentennial (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1995), p.1106
  3. "CHURCH WON'T SELL SITE TO ROCKEFELLER". The New York Times. 1929. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  4. "Plan to Sell St. Nicholas Church For $3,000,000 Stirs Conflict; PROPOSAL TO SELL CHURCH IS OPPOSED AVENUE LANDMARK MAY BE SOLD". The New York Times. 1946. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  5. "St. Nicholas Church to Be Razed To Make W ay for Office Building; TO BE ERECTED ON CHURCH SITE LONG LEASE CLOSES ST. NICHOLAS FIGHT". The New York Times. 1949-04-01. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  6. David W. Dunlap, From Abyssinian to Zion: a guide to Manhattan's houses of worship (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), p. 145
  7. Armin Haeussler, The story of our hymns: the handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), p. 954: "Dr. Joseph Sizoo, pastor of St. Nicholas Collegiate Dutch Reformed Church, New York, from 1936 to 1947"

Coordinates: 40°45′27″N73°58′42″W / 40.75750°N 73.97833°W / 40.75750; -73.97833