trinity church demolition chuck miller large

What's left of Trinity Church

trinity church demolition chuck miller small

You can see more detail in the large-format version of the photo.

This photo of the crumbling Trinity Church in Albany is from Chuck, who stopped by the site this morning. The building partially collapsed Monday night, and yesterday the Albany Fire Department decided the building had to be completely demolished. [Fox23] [TU]

Trinity Church was built in 1848. It was designed by James Renwick Jr., a prominent 19th century architect who would later design St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City (and many other buildings). In 2005, the Historic Albany Foundation added the church on its endangered list. Trinity was one of the oldest remaining Gothic-style buildings in Albany. [Wikipedia] [Wikipedia] [HAF] [Architects in Albany] [Albany History]

Paula has pulled together a bunch of links about Trinity.

Update: The church's stained glass windows have been saved. [TU]

(Thanks, Chuck)

Later on AOA: Chuck is gathering a photoset of the building's gradual demolition.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A short tour of Albany's historic stained glass
+ Saints vs. The State for Washington Avenue

photo: Chuck Miller

Find It

Trinity Church
31 Trinity Place
Albany, NY 12202


Is anyone going to salvage that beautiful stained glass window in the back of the church?

This looks like a great place for a clique of self important local musicians to stage a restoration benefit concert at.

Maybe also get some larger names to headline to make you look "cool" or "hip" or whatever by proximity.

It's a shame that Albany just lets everything fall apart...

But maybe they'll put a {insert name of missing/desirable supermarket} there.

Can I ask... what is Scumbag's deal?
This is the second snarky comment that I've read from him/her attacking Albany's "hip" local musicians.
Any reason for the animosity? Can't we all just be friendly?

If you look at the large size photo above, you can see they have plastic over the stained glass window - I hooope that means they plan to remove it before demolishing the rest of the building.

Not sure if Scumbag is trying to be sarcastic and missed the mark, buuuut... Rest Fest raises money for St Joseph's for restoration/upkeep so /it/ doesn't face the wrecking ball. Historic buildings that don't have that financial support will eventually decay and be destroyed. How could you dislike what Rest Fest is trying to do?

I believe that the stained glass windows are being carefully removed from the structure and are being preserved for future use. That's one of the reasons why the City of Albany hasn't brought in the wrecking ball and smashed the building to smithereens; they're carefully removing each of the components to minimize a complete structural collapse, as well as saving the stained glass windows.

According to the Albany Times Union, "The fate of the glass, which is covered by plywood, is uncertain. Forezzi said worker safety would not be sacrificed to salvage the windows."

Read more:

I haven't been able to see the collapse and demolition work at Trinity Place in person yet and had a serious medical treatmnet on Tuesday which would have been a better time to have seen Trinity Church. Does anyone have photos from then to share? From what I saw in the news and from a few people I talked to who were there; I have to ask if complete demolition is really necessary ? The news shots I saw were all from the front and even those raise the same question. But Chuck's fine foto from the rear raises the question some more.
I think the chancel was still standing on Tuesday and that's kinda self supporting. Then there's the matters of Gothic buttressing if it's brickwork instead of weight bearing stone work. The front part shouldn't have to be demolished either.
The Fire Chief is right in the general principle over safety first, but I found in another case that he doesn't always understand structural processes. He recently sharply questioned a friend of mine who tried to look at the windows more closely and asked if she was an engineer. Well I don't think the Chief is an engineer. There is a City Engineer . What does he say, and in a case like this ; an independent analysis might be in order. As for City and County officials in general; they have been guilty of neglect for this and many other building problems in Albany. Trinity Parish was the origin of Trinity Institute and Trinity Alliance. It's any important part of the history of the South End and the City . What's called the " Social Gospell " was being implemented here early in the last century with special programs for youth and children and emphasi on low income families. There were programs at Trinity Place and at the summer camps at Lawson's Lake. I attended both the church and the athletic programs while going to Schuyler High. That's some associated history . This precious historic church is the only building in Albany designed by the same architect that designed St. Patrick's Cathedral in N.YC. and The Smithsonian Institute buildings in Washington ; and it is, or was, the oldest intact remaining gothic style building in the city. That's all pretty darned significant . The next monument of the Gothic Revival in Albany to go through "demolition by neglect " may be Holy Innocents at Colonie and North Pearl . Check it out ! The practices of both the City and County governments over deterioration of both historic and generally useful urban structures in Albany has got to change for the better.

The demolition crew are saving as many of the stained glass windows as they possibly can. Here's a picture of them carefully transplanting one of the windows from the crumbling wall to a flatbed.

Ethan-I appreciate your sentiment, but what that part of the city actually does need IS a supermarket, access of which is an ongoing issue for people who actually live in the city. As oppossed the suburban activists who seldom live in the neighborhoods they try and "save."

Another abandoned old building is the last thing this city needs, while a supermarket in the inner city is. The demolition crew is doing a great job saving what they can, Chuck Miller's blog shows them saving the stained glass and they went out of their way to allow Chuck on their Cherry Picker to take pictures, so remember, these guys are not the enemy, and they seem to have a real appreciation for these deglected buildings.

But, frankly, there really aren't many profitable uses for an old, neglected church. Community centers need grants to run, and grant money for such enterprises is scarce or minimimal when available, and contribute little in terms of employment.

But, supermarkets do provide employment and affordable food, something that neighborhood needs more than an empty derelict building and the good intentions of a bunch of middle class activists who surry back to the suburbs, or nicer parts of the city, after dark.

Best to raze Albany to the ground and give the land back to the native peoples.... Such are our stewards in Albany.... We'd best let others have a try.

Hon. Steven W Lindsey
State rep
Keene, NH

This wasn't just some "old, neglected church," it was the ONLY Church and the only building in Albany by one of New York's most famous architects. It wasn't torn down to make a supermarket and many cities that don't destroy their architectural heritage provide better jobs through tourism by people who would come to see a beautiful, historic building- not a Price Chopper...

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