St. John’s Episcopal Church, 9818 Fort Hamilton Parkway in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, was dedicated in 1834 and was located near the United States Army installation at Fort Hamilton. St. John’s welcomed many famous generals, such as Civil War generals Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863).
St. John’s was nicknamed the “Church of the Generals” since at least 1928. The church closed in 2014 and the future of the building was in doubt.
Wikipedia: Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn
Fort Hamilton is a neighborhood in the far southwestern corner of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is located south of, and often considered part of, Bay Ridge. The area stretches from around 90th Street as its northern border to 101st Street at the south. It is bounded by New York Bay on the west, and 7th Avenue on the east. The neighborhood is named for the United States Army installation of the same name, which bears the name of Alexander Hamilton. Fort Hamilton is patrolled by the NYPD’s 68th precinct.
Notable locations include the St. John’s Episcopal Church on Fort Hamilton Parkway, St. Patrick’s Church on 4th Avenue, and Fort Hamilton Memorial Park at 4th Avenue and 101st Street.
Saint John’s Episcopal Church
9818 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, New York
Saint John’s has been a continuous presence in the Fort Hamilton neighborhood of Brooklyn since 1834, witnessing to Jesus Christ through worship, fellowship, and service.
Known and beloved as the “Church of The Generals,” many significant figures in American History have passed through our doors - from Robert E. Lee, who was a Vestryman, to Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who was baptized in the font we still use to this day.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
8 July 1928, The Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY), “Striking Illusion Made In Chancel Window Put In ‘Church of Generals,’” pg. 1, col. 2:
St. John’s Church is known all over the country as the “Church of the Generals,” because many famous generals worshipped there.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
30 January 1933, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Rev. R. Y. Condit Installed Pastor By Bishop Stires,” pg. 16, col. 1:
The historic, little wooden-frame P. E. CHurch of St. John’s—“the Church of the Generals”—opposite the army post at Fort Hamilton, ...
In Present-Day Brooklyn, Echo of the Civil War - March ‘96 America’s Civil War Feature
Originally published by America’s Civil War magazine. Published Online: September 23, 1996
To remedy this situation, the Denyse family, who were local landowners in the area, agreed to donate a plot of land for the building of a new Episcopal church that would serve Fort Hamilton and the surrounding area. A month later, on September 29, 1834, the parish of St. John’s was officially founded. While the church was being constructed, services were held in a barn on the fort’s property. The new church building, situated just outside the fort’s main gate, was consecrated by the Episcopal bishop of New York on July 16, 1835. The entire garrison of Fort Hamilton was in attendance. To this day, the rector of the Church of St. John serves as a chaplain for the fort.
Many officers who achieved battlefield fame in later wars were parishioners at St. John’s early in their military careers. These include General Matthew B. Ridgway, the World War II paratroop commander who went on to lead U.S. forces during the Korean War; General Walter Bedell Smith, chief of staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower in Europe during World War II, and later director of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Air Force General Hubert Harmon, the first superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy. St. John’s is thus well-deserving of its nickname, “the Church of the Generals.” St. John’s is located at 9818 Fort Hamilton Parkway in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn!, 2nd Edition:
The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Most Happening Borough
By Ellen Freudenheim
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin
Nearby Saint John’s Episcopal Church at 99th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, known as the “church of the generals,” was frequented by such military leaders as Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle
Bay Ridge Eagle
Heff’s Corner: The Church of the Generals
by Brooklyn Eagle (), published online 09-30-2010
Why is it called the Church of the Generals? Well, many people know about Robert E. Lee (a tree said to be planted by him still stands in the front garden) being a vestrymen there during his stay at Ft. Hamilton (1842-1844) but there were many other top military leaders who attended mass at St John’s and served in their vestry.
General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was baptized on April 29, 1849 at St. John’s. He earned his nickname at First Manassass and commanded troops during the Shenendoah Valley Campaign (Confederate Army). General Henry J. Slocum, a St John’s parishioner, was appointed Colonel of the 27th New York regiment and was severely wounded during the Battle of Bull Run in 1861. He was appointed general in charge of the Army of the Potomac.
General Loomis Langdon was warden of St. John’s for many years and after a great fire damaged the church was responsible for building what is now the edifice that stands today.
Other generals that served on the vestry at St. John’s were Henry Stanton (1834), Harvey Brown (1835), Joseph Bailey (1836), Justin Dimmick (1859) and Admiral John Glitz (1860).
Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle
July 15, 2014 - 3:11pm
Landmark status for St. John’s Episcopal Church?
Gentile says he’ll fight to save building
By Paula Katinas
With shock over the news that Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Bay Ridge is closing due to declining congregation numbers still settling in for community residents, speculation has begun over that will happen to the church building after the last service is held there in September.
Located at 9818 Fort Hamilton Parkway, St. John’s Episcopal Church was dedicated 180 years ago. The church, nicknamed the “Church of the Generals,” stands a block away from the main gate of the US Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton. Both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson worshiped at St. John’s when they were stationed at Fort Hamilton in the 1840s.