Location of Hope Chapel, New York City

site of several of Oakes Smith's early lectures


In the early 1850s, when Oakes Smith began to lecture in public, one sees frequent references in newspaper accounts and letters of Hope Chapel. Located at 718 Broadway, between Waverly Place and Washington Place, it was originally a Baptist Church, most recently used as an ecumenical meeting place. When I visited the address in 1995, I found the DiJazz clothing store at the base of a new high rise. The manager, who grew up in the neighborhood, remembers the memorials for John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King being held in the old chapel that once stood on the spot. It was torn down in the 1970s. The image below is from the Perris Map of the City of New York, 1854.
(Hope Chapel can be seen at the lower right)

The founding of Hope Chapel is described in I.N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 6 vols. (New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1928), in a chapter entitled "Period of Industrial and Educational Development" as follows:

1848 Feb 12: "New Baptist Church in Broadway.--We understand that the Hope Chapel Baptist Church have recently purchased some eligible lots in the upper part of Broadway, nearly opposite the New York Hotel, on which they are commencing a house of worship. The purchase gives them 50 feet front by 137 feet deep. The church is to be erected in the rear, with an attractive entrance from Broadway, while two stores, four stories high, two dwellings above them, are to be placed in the front..." New York Commercial Adv., F 12, 1848. (1809)

Later the name of the Chapel is changed, but the original name evidently stuck:

The legislature changes the name of "The Hope Chapel Baptist Church and Congregation" to "The Broadway Baptist Church." --Laws of NY. (1850), chap. 275; amended Jl 11, 1851 by ibid. (1851). chap. 523. (1827)



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