The Bicentennial Society Inaugural Luncheon
Time & Location
About The Event
Your hosts are June Freemanzon and Bill Bechman. June, a long-time Unitarian who attended All Souls, will talk about Dr. Kring and her family’s connection. Bill, co-chair of the Bicentennial Committee, will discuss All Souls' third church building, which was nearby at Park Avenue and 20th Street. He'll also talk about illustrious members Louisa Lee Schuyler, Peter Cooper, the Rev. Dr. Henry Whitney Bellows (our second minister), and Herman Melville, who will be with us in spirit.
About the National Arts Club
The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 by Charles De Kay to “stimulate, foster, and promote interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the Fine Arts.” It is a National Historic Landmark. Always beautiful, the Club is especially festive at Christmas Time. We will toast Acting Minister Dr. Charles Follen (1836–1838) who, as a Harvard Professor, brought the first Christmas tree to New England from Germany in 1832, and Henry Whitney Bellows (1839–1882) who followed.
About All Souls' third church building
Following the northerly movement of residents, the society moved to a new church on southeast corner of Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South) and 20th Street. Built from 1853–55, the new edifice was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould. One prominent architectural critic pronounced it “the most unfortunate ecclesiastical edifice ever to be erected not only in New York, but anywhere else in the world for that matter.” In fashioning the first major example of Byzantine Revival architecture in the United States, the architect employed two radically different kinds of brick, the reddest possible Philadelphia brick and a light yellow brick (Caen stone) from Italy. He juxtaposed the two in broad alternating stripes from top to bottom. Hence the church’s nicknames: the Beefsteak Church, and, soon thereafter, the Church of the Holy Zebra.