The Church of the Holy Innocents is an abandoned, historic Episcopal church near the Arbor Hill neighborhood in Albany, New York.


History

The Church of the Holy Innocents, designed by prominent church architect Frank Wills in the early Gothic Revival style, was constructed in 1850. 1 2 It was the fifth Episcopal parish in Albany. 1 The $20,000 3 church was financed by lumber baron William DeWitt as a memorial to his children. 2

Wills was a prominent Episcopal architect who had earlier designed churches in Canada and a few in the United States. 1

A chapel, designed by Frank Wills, Wollett & Ogden, was added in 1866.

The interior featured several stained glass windows designed by John Bolton, a major crafter of stained glass in the 19th century. Along with his brother, William, the pair reintroduced the medieval stained glass technique as medieval architecture was becoming fashionable in church architecture.

In the 1950’s, the Episcopal congregation relocated to a newer facility and sold their building to a Russian Orthodox church 1 and renamed the Church of the Nativity of our Virgin Lady. On the exterior, the original bell cot was removed and replaced with an onion-shaped dome. The interior alterations included the addition of icons and screens to block the view of the altar area in both the church and chapel.

The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

In the 1990’s, the Hope House, a drug and substance abuse rehabilitation facility, acquired the closed church to prevent it from becoming a bar. 4 5 It hoped to use the church as a recreational facility for its residents that lived next door but found the costs of renovation too high. 5 Hope House failed to maintain the former church building, leading it to partially collapse on May 4, 2015. 2

Developer Patrick Chiou purchased the abandoned church in December 2016. Chiou has stabilized the church from further collapse pending rehabilitation.

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