The beginnings of this Upper End Side church are in the sad events of the Slocum Disaster of 1904 when over 1,000 of the Lower East Side’s St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church lost their lives. Many of the victims’ families who moved to this area of Yorkville on the Upper East Side found themselves in need of a new home.
This location had been home to a series of churches that all failed to thrive due to dwindling finances or numbers. First on this site was the German Evangelical Church of Yorkville, which formed in 1883 and built this building in 1888. Unfortunately, they could not afford it, and the church and all of its contents were auctioned off in 1892.
Soon after, the recently formed Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church took over the building. In 1946, Zion and St. Mark’s merged into one congregation here at 339 East 84th Street. A reminder of the church’s original congregation can still be seen as an inscription on the façade, which reads “Deutsche Evangelische Kirche von Yorkville.”
Today the congregation remains mostly German with many Austrian, Polish, Columbian, Brazilian, and American members as well. The church still offers a weekly service in German. Additionally, this building is now listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.