St. Peter's Episcopal Church

Watch Out, the Gargoyles Spit

The first Episcopal Church north of New York City.

If you walk about a block from St. Mary's Church towards State Street, you'll come across St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The congregation, established officially in 1715 at the request of Queen Anne, actually came into existence five years earlier as part of an Anglican missionary movement headed by Thomas Barclay, The original intent of the mission was to convert local Iroquois, but finding little success in this, Barclay began to minister to the British locals and some of the Dutch families in the area.

Mirroring St. Mary's, St. Peter's is also the third incarnation of the original church. Completed in 1717, the first building featured a simple design that remained unchanged (with the exception of the addition of a steeple in the 1750s) until the construction of the second building in 1803. It was during this time in 1758, that St. Peter's became the final resting place of Lord Howe, the commander of the British forces during the French and Indian War. Howe was killed in battle during an attempt to recapture Fort Ticonderoga, which French forces took in 1757. Howe remains the only British peer interred in the United States into the present day.

The second church, also designed by Philip Hooker, would only last about sixty years before the third and current design would be built. The third building was drawn up by Richard Upjohn, and his son, Richard M. Upjohn, one of the most prominent ecclesiastical architects of the 19th century. The current building features the Gothic Revival style of architecture, and this can be seen in the exterior of the building, The towers on the right of the church's front are one of the defining features of the Gothic Revival style, and the ornate decoration is distinctly Gothic as well. Regarding the subtitle, the gargoyles on the towers do act as drains for rainwater.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and also became a National Historic Landmark in 1980.

Street Address:

107 State Street Albany, New York 12207 [map]

Cite this Page:

Matthew Chamberlain, “St. Peter's Episcopal Church,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed August 21, 2019, http://www.albanywalksforhealth.com/items/show/43.

Share this Story