Historic Landmark Cathedral in Harlem
Located on West 134th Street, in New York City, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church is a New York Designated Landmark that is included in the National and State Registers of Historic Places. This incredible building, located a few blocks from Columbia University, has a fascinating history. The church building was designed in neo-Gothic style by the firm of Tandy & Foster under the direction of the first African American licensed as an architect in New York. Unlike many of the churches built in New York during the early decades of the 20th century, which have interiors finished in the painted plaster, the interior of St. Philip’s is finished in exposed tan Roman brick, stone pillars, and stone Gothic arches. Aisles and chancel floors are terrazzo with marble trim. The walnut pews in the nave comfortably hold over 750 people. The congregation of St. Philip’s has roots that reach back to 1704 when Elias Neau, a Frenchman who had himself been a slave, began teaching New York slaves to read the Bible at Trinity Church on Wall Street, itself a famous church to this day. Unfortunately Trinity Church was segregated. As the black worshipers grew frustrated with Trinity Church’s refusal to condemn slavery or end the segregation, they formed the Free African Church of St. Philip. In 1818 a small wood church was built that grew to become one of the largest black congregations in New York, in spite of fires, racist attacks, and riots.
As New York grew and blacks moved north, the church moved to a few locations, finally ending where it is today on 134th Street when, in 1910, the current cathedral was built. It is the fifth home of the parish. By the 1950s St. Philip’s was the largest Christian congregation in the United States. As the neighborhood began to change, the parish ministry increasingly reached out to the wider community. When the church needed to replace its old heating plant, it turned to Wales Darby, the New York Triad rep to come up with a steam alternative that would fit into a very small space. Ultimately, seven Series 900 steam boilers with Powerflame oil-fired CR1 burners were chosen, firing at 900 MBH which resulted in total output of 6300 MBH. TRIAD’s modular vertical configuration was the perfect fit for this very compact boiler room, and was a very efficient choice versus the large, very old boiler steam boiler. Rigging costs were kept at a minimum because the boilers were extremely easy to move into place, with virtually all the controls wired and mounted.The boilers are sequenced with a HeatTimer control panel based on outdoor reset. This panel further improves the inherent efficiency of the modular boilers.