St. Paul's Church National Historic Site
church, located at 897 South Columbus Avenue
in Mount Vernon, is one of New York's oldest parishes
(1665-1980). It was used as a hospital following the
important Revolutionary War Battle at Pell's Point in
1776, and was the scene of various military developments
for the next six years. The church stood at the edge
of Eastchester village green, the site of the "Great
Election"(1733), which raised the issues of Freedom
of Religion and Press. The adjoining cemetery contains
burials dating from 1704.
Increasing industrialization of the
area around St. Paul's Church in the early 20th century
led to the decline of the parish. In 1942, as part of
an effort to revitalize the congregation and draw attention
to the site's historical significance, the interior
of the church was restored to its 18th century appearance,
based on the original pew plan of 1787. A committee
chaired by Sara Delano Roosevelt, mother of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, raised funds for the project.
While the restoration initially succeeded
in reviving the congregation, by the 1970s the parish
had dwindled to only a handful of worshippers. The last
regular Sunday service at St. Paul's occurred in May
1977. In 1980, the site was transferred from the Episcopal
Dioceses of New York to the National Park Service. The
site opened to the public in 1984 and is operated under
a cooperative agreement with the Society of the National
Shrine of the Bill of Rights at Saint Paul's Church,
Interpretive tours for the general
public explore the fascinating history of the 240-year-old
church, focusing on the 18th century. Staff-led tours
take you up the 225 year old church tower to see a bell
cast in 1758 at the same foundry as the Liberty Bell.
You will also see and hear the sounds of the 1833 pipe
organ, one of the oldest functioning organs in America.
Tours of the historic cemetery -- one of the oldest
in the country -- trace the changing nature of religious
and secular symbolism as revealed through the stones,
over 300 years.
The Museum includes historic games
and toys for children. There is also a scavenger hunt,
based on the Museum exhibition material, with prizes
for winners. Additionally, there is a Historic Cemetery
Scavenger Hunt, with prizes for winners.
Regular hours for tours and programs
are Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with occasional
special progams on weekends and weeknights. Call in
advance (914-667-4116) for information about those special
programs. The site is closed on Federal Holidays.