The Broadway Tabernacle Church was formed as a pulpit for the reformist preacher Charles Grandison Finney in the mid-1830s. Finney was an advocate of social reform, primarily equal education for all people regardless of race or gender, as well as a proponent of the growing abolition movement. The church auditorium was one of the city's largest public halls, and hosted rallies, scientific demonstrations, and lectures, as well as sermons.
|Broadway Tabernacle auditorium at Worth Street and Broadway, 1850. Image: NYPL|
For its many community functions, the Tabernacle was best known (and hated by some) for supporting the abolition and women's rights movements. Angry mobs attempted to burn down the church during construction, and at times the lives of its preachers and congregants were put at risk. Women's suffragette and activist Sojourner Truth famously spoke at the Women's Rights Convention in 1853 held at the Tabernacle. Boos, hisses, and protests were so raucous that the convention earned the nickname The Mob Convention of 1853.
|Sojourner Truth, 1864. Image: LOC|
|NE Corner of Sixth Avenue and 34th Street showing the Broadway Tabernacle Church , Image: NYPL|
|Broadway Tabernacle Church interior with a Ferris & Stuart organ, 34th Street, 1859. Image: via|
In 1901, the church and congregation moved to 57th Street and Broadway, and then later, again, this time to its present location at 93rd Street and Broadway. It is now called the Broadway United Church of Christ. In its place, at the NE corner of 34th Street and Broadway, the Marbridge building, an office building with retail space was built. (ed. note: Victoria's Secret is currently the anchor tenant of the building)
|The Marbridge Building, 1941. Image: MCNY|
1. Sir Charles Lyell, Eight Lectures on Geology
2. Library of Congress, Sojourner Truth online resources
3. Ward, Susan Hayes. The History of Broadway Tabernacle Church, 1901
4. Judd, Lewis Strong. The Broadway Tabernacle Church, 1901-1915