Historic St. Mary's Church

It's Come a Long Way

Historic St. Mary's Church was officially founded in 1796, but its history goes much deeper than that.

Our second stop brings us to Historic St. Mary's Church on Lodge Street, one of the oldest Catholic congregations in the state. St. Mary's was supposedly founded near the site where a Jesuit priest, Isaac Jogues escaped from Mohawk captivity in 1643. Jogues would later be killed in Auriesville by Mohawks, leading to his eventual canonization by the Roman Catholic Church in 1930.

The current building is actually the third incarnation of the Church, with the previous buildings being replaced as the Church's congregation grew, similar in fashion to the First Reformed Church. The first building was completed in 1798, it was the second permanent Catholic church in New York (St. Peter's on Barclay Street in Manhattan holds this title), and one of the first churches in the original thirteen colonies that was dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

The second building was commissioned in the 1820s due to the growing number of Catholic immigrants in Albany. This growth was a direct result of the Erie Canal's construction and the trade it brought into Albany. Philip Hooker designed the new building, this being one of his last documented commissions before his death in 1836. It is worth noting that both Martin Van Buren, and Stephen Van Rensselaer III donated money towards the construction of the building.

Due to structural defects in the second building, it had to be replaced. This was done in 1869, and the new church's design was a departure from Hooker's Federal design language. Instead, a Romanesque Revival design was used, reflecting the growing Italian population in Albany at the time. This building still stands, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Street Address:

10 Lodge St, Albany, NY 12207 [map]

Cite this Page:

Matthew Chamberlain, “Historic St. Mary's Church,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed October 18, 2019, http://www.albanywalksforhealth.com/items/show/42.

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