The old Epiphany Church goes up in flames.
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village Newspaper has been providing news for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for over 65 years. Here is a snapshot of what was happening in the neighborhood 50 years ago this week.
Epiphany gets money to rebuild
This issue of T&V reported that the fundraising campaign to rebuild Epiphany Church had surpassed all expectations, raising $360,000. The church had been almost completely destroyed in a fire a few days before Christmas the previous year. The amount raised almost reached the suggested minimum of $400,000 that the church would need to rebuild and the story noted that the rate of donations indicated that the real need of $900,000 was likely to be pledged by the time the campaign ended in November.
Architectural firm Belfatto and Pavarini designed the new church, which was “strikingly modern.” The estimated cost of the new building was a total of $1.3 million. The insurance from the fire covered $704,450, which left about $600,000 of that sum, but the church had also purchased additional property, adding about $300,000. The rebuilding process started in 1965 and took two years, completing in 1967. It ultimately cost $1.2 million. The rectory on East 21st Street, which was built in 1936, was not burnt down in the fire.
Students aid “needy Southern Negroes”
Local residents and about 20 Stuyvesant High School student volunteers participated in a food drive in front of a supermarket on East 14th Street the previous Saturday, raising food, clothing and money for people in Mississippi and other areas in the South.
The event was the third annual food drive hosted by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was also affiliated with local and national civil rights organizations. At the time, Mississippi law stated that the names of all people who had taken the voter registration test had to be printed in the local paper for two weeks, which subjected black families to retaliatory actions. Many of the children didn’t go to school because they didn’t have clothing to wear and many families were the target for homemade bombs and telephone threats.
The story reported that the kindness of residents exceeded expectations and volunteers found themselves deluged with clothing and food, and monetary donations from the sale of books, buttons and bumper stickers were also overwhelming.