Marble Collegiate Church “America’s Hometown Church,” 1901

Marble Collegiate Church and Holland House, New York 1901The Marble Collegiate Church, founded in 1628, is one of the oldest continuous Protestant congregations in North America. The congregation, which is part of the Reformed Church in America, is now located at 272 Fifth Avenue at the corner of West 29th Street in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1851-54 and was designed by Samuel A. Warner in Romanesque Revival style with Gothic trim. The facade is covered in Tuckahoe marble, for which the church, originally called the Fifth Avenue Church, was renamed in 1906.

The building was designated a New York City landmark in 1967, and in 1980 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The church congregation was founded in 1628 as the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church and was affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church, a Calvinist church in the Netherlands. During its first 150 years, Marble shared its ministers with the other Collegiate congregations as they developed in the city. This pooling of pastoral ministry was abandoned in 1871. The name “Collegiate” remains as part of the heritage of the four such churches in New York City today, and they participate in an administrative unit that oversees physical properties and investments held in common. The other congregations are Middle Collegiate, West End Collegiate, and Fort Washington Collegiate.

…Lucille Ball married her second husband Gary Morton in the church…

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the noted author of The Power of Positive Thinking served as senior minister from 1932-1984. Under his ministry Marble’s influence reached national levels and became known as “America’s Hometown Church.” On November 19, 1961, Lucille Ball married her second husband Gary Morton in the church. Following Peale’s fifty-two year ministry, Dr. Arthur Caliandro served 25 years as the fifth senior minister of Marble Church. In all, he served 42 years on the pastoral staff. During Caliandro’s tenure, MarbleVision, the media ministry of Marble Church was founded, its first woman minister was ordained, and the first women elders received. In addition, the church added its first new stained-glass window in almost 100 years. In 2009, Dr. Michael B. Brown, former pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, succeeded Dr. Caliandro as senior minister (source).

Photo credit: Marble Collegiate Church and Holland House, New York 1901.

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