Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally German Reformed Church of Jesus, most recently: Iglesia de Dios Hispana.
Address: 64 Menahan Street
Cross Streets: Evergreen and Central Avenues
1891 1912 1891, significantly altered in 1912. Whew!
Architectural Style: Simplified Gothic
The story: A good church building can last long after its original congregation is long gone. Congregations grow, shrink, change, or disband, and a church building that was once the heart of a community, changes to reflect its new owners. Such is the case with this building, which has been home to a large number of denominations and congregations in its long history.
It was built for the German speaking Reformed Church of Jesus. In 1891, Bushwick was still a predominantly German American community, and the Reformed Church, which had grown in America as the Dutch Reformed Church, had thousands of members who had German heritage. The church by no means the largest church in the area, but is still substantial, and joined the Catholic, Lutheran and other churches that served the neighborhood. The church would eventually relocate to Queens when the demographics of the neighborhood changed.
By 1930, the church was called the Hoople Church of the Nazarene, in honor of William Howard Hoople, one of the founders of the American Holiness Movement, and the Church of the Nazarene denomination. He lived and worked mostly in Brooklyn, and his is an interesting story for another time. The church stayed there for at least through the 1930s.
The on-line records show that since then, the building was home to several other churches, and was most recently home to the Spanish speaking Church of God. City records show that the building belonged to the city since 1975, and was transferred to HUD in 1980, which presumably leases it to Iglesia de Dios Hispana.
There are cornerstones and plaques in German on the building, and modern signage in Spanish. Bushwick has long been an amazing melting pot of cultures, this is but one small example. GMAP