The Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel Is Under Wraps During Restoration


A multi-million dollar restoration project is under way to bring a glow back to the Gothic-inspired chapel at Green-Wood Cemetery.

A recent stroll past the towered limestone chapel showed that it is under wraps while work progresses on the restoration, the first since 2001. This time around the work is focused on masonry and window restoration.

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The project kicked off in the fall of 2018 and masonry work, which includes addressing water issues, should be completed by the end of 2019. The stained glass restoration will take a bit longer, with a projected finish date of late spring 2020, according to Green-Wood Vice-President of Operations Eric Barna.

The longer time frame for the stained glass reflects the sheer complexity of the project. The chapel includes 40 decorative stained glass windows, from tiny ones in the bathroom to the soaring one at the front of the chapel. Including the amber-colored lay light at the ceiling of the nave brings the window total to 41.

The interior of the chapel in 1913. Image via Architecture & Building

All of the windows, which were originally designed by Willet Stained Glass and Decorating Company of Philadelphia, have been removed for full condition inspection and restoration. Once the work on the limestone masonry is completed, the windows will gradually be re-installed.

Designed by Warren & Wetmore, the chapel is a more modern addition to the historic cemetery. Completed in 1913, it was envisioned as a non-denominational space for contemplation and memorial services.

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The chapel in 2018.

The chapel was designated an individual New York City landmark in 2016, a designation the cemetery supported. “Plans for the restoration of our historic chapel were put in place well before it earned its landmark designation, making the work, now, even more significant,” Richard J. Moylan, President of The Green-Wood Cemetery told Brownstoner. “Green-Wood is proud to now be home to four New York City Landmarks – each an historic and architectural gem.”

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Established in 1838, Green-Wood was one of New York City’s most popular tourist attractions in the 19th century, and continues to be one of New York City’s most prestigious resting places.

[Photos by Susan De Vries unless otherwise noted]

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