Building
     

Setting

 
 

Where is the DRC?
Map of Newburgh

Where is Newburgh?
Map of Hudson Valley





Acropolis, Athens
The acropolis in Athens.

Temple, Sounion Temple at Sounion, Greece.


  Newburgh in 1842

A masterpiece of American Greek Revival design, the Dutch Reformed Church emulated ancient Greek temple architecture above all in its siting atop a prominent rise 250 feet above the Hudson River.

With its facade oriented south toward the gorge of the Highlands, the structure thrusts its prismatic form into the landscape, rising above the water on a rocky high point, much as the Parthenon or the temple at Sounion did in ancient Greece.

Today the view is fragmented by modern buildings, but in the 19th century, the huge white columns and pediment of the DRC grabbed the attention of every ship sailing up the busy river, as seen in the engraving above.

In the architect's words (1835): "The edifice occupies a commanding situation... Owing to the immediate and rapid descent of the ground east of the site, the basement line of the portico is above the top of the buildings between it and the river; so that the full effect of its architecture may be seen while passing the town..."

In this 1842 engraving, the white walls of the Dutch Reformed Church rise up among the red brick buildings around and below it. (Courtesy J. Hoekema)