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Old St. James Church in Elmhurst, City's 2nd Oldest, Gets Landmarked

By Katie Honan | September 20, 2017 4:26pm
 The church was built in the 1700s and was spared by British soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
The church was built in the 1700s and was spared by British soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ELMHURST — The Old St. James Episcopal Church on Broadway, one of the city's oldest churches, is now officially a landmark.

The Church of England mission church, which was built in 1735 and 1736, was unanimously voted for the distinction by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday. 

It's the second-oldest religious building in the five boroughs, constructed in what was then Newtown Village for the new Anglican residents. (The oldest is the Old Quaker Meeting House in Flushing, also known as the Flushing Friends Meeting House, which was built in 1694, according to the church's website.)

While Old St. James is already included on the National Register of Historic Places, local officials and residents have tried for years to have it officially landmarked in the city. 

“The commission is proud to designate this historic church, significant for its association with the early colonial settlement of Queens and with the beginnings of the Protestant Episcopal Church in New York,” Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said in a statement. 

Years after it was built, British soldiers spared it during Revolutionary War battles. The church, on the corner of Broadway and 51st Avenue, later became one of the first members of the New York Episcopal Diocese, according to the LPC.

"The Old St. James Church tells the story of how our nation came to be," Councilman Danny Dromm, who called it an "American treasure," said in a statement.

"I am pleased to have joined Elmhurst residents, the church leadership and my colleagues in government to have Old St. James Church landmarked so that future generations can enjoy and learn from this remarkable structure. This is a great day for NYC."