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In the Footsteps of Ferdinand and Maria

Last week, Lynn, the girls, and I took several day trips into New York City for our vacation. On Wednesday (8/9), we made our own "Ferdinand and Maria Radue Tour," visiting the sites of their residences, and St. John's Lutheran Church, where they were married in 1868 (star on map). We arranged with the church secretary beforehand when we would visit, so that she could give us a tour and have the old record book out. It's a lovely little church, and it still has a small but active congregation. Some changes have been made over the years, but Ferdinand and Maria would surely still recognize it. The altar and pews are original (though refinished), as is the gallery and organ loft on both sides and the back. The recess around the altar has been added in recent years. The acoustics are excellent, as evidenced by a voice student practicing while we were there.

The locations of their residences do not retain original structures. 82 Hudson St., where Maria lived (pink dot on map), has been replaced by a large brick building which is now numbered 90. A parking lot exists next door at 74. Ferdinand's address (blue dot on map) at 15 Chrystie St. has been replaced by a large, paved sports area. Interestingly, I found Ferdinand listed in the 1867 New York City Directory living at 84 Hudson St. with his brother Charles A. Radue (also a tailor).

Afterwards, we went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where you are taken on tour through a "refurbished" 1860s tenement showing life in 1870, 1918, and 1935. It was really an eye opening experience. A tenement flat consisted of three rooms totaling 325 square feet. There are five floors, each with four flats. Only the main room of each flat had windows, and in the early days no running water, inside toilets, or heat. Tenants had to supply their own coal or wood stove. Over the years cold running water, gas, electricity, and indoor toilets were added. From 1868 until 1935 when it was closed, about 10,000 people lived in this particular tenement at 97 Orchard St. This was probably not unlike where Ferdinand and Maria lived.


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These four center buildings, not quite directly across from the location of 82 Hudson St., look like they could have survived from the 1860s. Perhaps this was Maria's view out her front window (if she had one). Somewhere in this ball court is where
15 Chrystie St. would have been located.
It's now on the edge of Chinatown.
Here's the facade of St. John's, squeezed in between other buildings, at 81 Christopher St. in the Village.

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The plaque under the cupola still proclaims "Deutsche evangelisch- lutherische St. Johannes Kirche." This landmark sign is on the front of the church. The nave as seen from the organ loft.

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Pews in the gallery. This was a large, thriving congregation when there were still many German speaking immigrants in New York. There were 22 marriages in March, 1868 alone. The nave from downstairs. The altar is original, the chancel rail is not. The pulpit is an antique, but not original to the church. None of the stained glass dates from the 1860s.

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This window commemorates the first Pastor, August H. M. Held, who married Ferdinand and Maria. The original churchbook entry: März 22, 1868.
Radue, Ferdinand Wilhelm, ledig, 33 Jahr alt,
Schneider, 15 Chrystie St., geb. Preussen
mit Marie Catharine Sophie Schröder, ledig, 82 Hudson St.
20 Jahr alt, geb. Hanover, Preussen
Zeugen Herr Hermann Lemke, 84 Hudson St.
Frl Clothilde Jungbluth, 82 do.

March 22, 1868.
Radue, Ferdinand Wilhelm, single, 33 years old,
tailor, 15 Chrystie St., born Prussia
with Marie Catharine Sophie Schröder, single, 82 Hudson St.,
20 years old, born Hanover, Prussia
Witnesses Mr. Hermann Lemke, 84 Hudson St.
Miss Clothilde Jungbluth, 82 Hudson St. (ditto).


This page created on August 19, 2000 on a Macintosh using BBEdit, and PhotoPage by John A. Vink.