ST. PAUL'S CHAPEL
New York, N.Y. 10007
The steel towers around it buckled and crumbled, but on Sept. 12, 235-year-old St. Paul’s Chapel was still standing. Located on Church Street between Fulton and Vesey Streets, opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, St. Paul's Chapel, an Episcopal church, was home to an extraordinary eight-month volunteer relief effort after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 (the site of the WTC can be seen in the background of the third photo in this gallery).
The oldest public building in continuous use in Manhattan (George Washington worshiped there after his inauguration in 1789), St. Paul's Chapel remained standing after the attacks, though the building and churchyard were covered in inches of dust from the Twin Towers' collapse. After engineers inspected the building and pronounced it fit for occupancy, the digging out began. Without electricity, Chapel staff used candles and flashlights until city workers set up crude lamps to shed light on the fledgling ministry. Slowly, rescue workers, police officers, firefighters began to come to the Chapel to eat and rest.
Dating to 1766, the churchyard at St. Paul's bears the graves of many important historical figures, including a number of Revolutionary War heroes, such as Etienne Marie Bechet Sieur de Rochefontaine (d. 1798), Revolutionary War Continental Army officer and Richard Montgomery (1738-1775) Major General in the Continental Army. Also buried in this cemetary are George Frederick Cooke (1756-1812), actor whose skull was used in Edwin Booth's production of Hamlet, and John Holt (1721-1784), publisher.