St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral Cemetery Wall
Designed in 1809 by Joseph Mangin, the 200-foot long cemetery brick wall along Prince Street at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral gradually developed an unstable curve over many years. St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral cemetery wall had been cited by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) as requiring attention with a permanent remedy to its potentially dangerous state. In late 2007, Acheson Doyle Partners Architects was engaged by the Trustees of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral to establish a permanent remedy would allow the wall to remain in its current form but prevent from further deformation or partial collapse.
Working collaboratively with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, restoration measures were undertaken beginning in late 2008 to repair and preserve the structure. The approved work consisted of exterior work at the brick wall surrounding the churchyard and cemetery at Mulberry, Spring and Mott Streets; including, installation of reinforced concrete buttresses and associated piles approximately every 12′ along the interior perimeter of the wall, with. the buttresses stained to match the brick of the historic wall; repointing of the wall in its entirety; installation of carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods set in epoxy in selected joints at the upper portion of the wall, prior to the repointing of the joints; selective crack repair and limited brick replacement as necessary; selective repair of brownstone quoins and brownstone coping stones; replacement of existing cast stone coping stones with new brownstone coping stones to match the historic; cleaning of the wall using low pressure wash and a proprietary product; and restoration of two (2) sets of double wood doors on Mulberry Street, including scraping and painting to match the existing.
Archaeological monitoring was done as part of the excavation, to identify burials so that the buttresses could be shifted to avoid impacting the burials if at all possible. The excavation procedure proceeded with monitoring archeologist and diocesan cemetery personnel able to detect the extent of the burial, record, and exhume remains. In some instances, the burial was left undisturbed by relocating the intended buttress. If remains were found, they were gathered, tagged, stored, and reinterred in the original location. Grave markers and headstones were dealt with in a similar fashion.
Additional work included resetting, repair and replacement of the bluestone paving at the entrance to the church on Mott Street; selective repair of the wrought iron fence that surrounds the entrance to the church; and patching of the brownstone plinth supporting the fence.
Restoration work was completed in 2012.