Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Early 20th century rendering of the Williamsburgh Trust Company. Courtesy of Ebay.
Date of Construction: 1905
Architect: Helmle-Huberty & Hudswell
Original Owner: Jenkins family-Williamsburg Trust Company
Type: Public building
StoriesStructure/Materials: Terracotta and Brick
This free standing building was one of three similar sized structures surrounding the Washington Bridge Plaza in the beginning of the 20th century. When the Williamsburg Bridge opened in 1903, this area became more popular and there was an influx of immigrants moving from the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Williamsburg Bridge Plaza was becoming a hub and a meeting point for different institutions, public and private, because of its strategic location just at the foot of the bridge.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church in Exile building has gone through three major phases of change, all represented by its different occupants and uses. The first occupant was the Williamsburg Trust Company beginning in 1905, at which time the building was owned by the Jenkins family. It was designed by the Helmle-Huberty & Hudswell architecture group, who also designed the Williamsburgh Savings Banks at 175 Broadway. Prior to construction the site was a vacant lot. Soon after, in 1915, the original, centrally planned, terra-cotta structure with Ionic columns was transformed into the 5th District Magistrates Court because the bank went under and had to close all of its branches. The alteration plans were designed by the firm of Stephen W. Dodge.
The third and final phase of the building is marked by the occupation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. When the district system changed, the courthouse was closed and a Ukrainian immigrant congregation bought the building. In 1961, the Department of Buildings approved the alterations for it to become a church. The alterations were mostly interior, the general exterior structure stayed almost the same for 106 years. Architecturally speaking, the building is a great model of the Beaux-Arts style and a wonderful example of preservation and re-use.