While recently visiting cultural and historic institutions in the East Village in New York, I noticed a plaque outside the storied St. Mark’s Church In-The-Bowery.
The plaque noted that St. Mark’s is the oldest physical site of worship in New York, dating back to the days of New Amsterdam. Additionally, it listed some of the more famous individuals and families interred in its burial ground. Including members of the Lorillard family.
My first book, Left Bank of the Hudson: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street (Fordham University Press, 2017), explored the history of an arts community in the former P. Lorillard Tobacco Company warehouse. The book’s first chapter chronicles the history of the Lorillard Company and its founders.
The plaque at St. Mark’s testifies to the past importance of the Lorillard family in the metropolitan region. Why did Jersey City fail to see its place in the Lorillard story? Why did Jersey City fail in saving it?