In 1628, Reverend Jonas Michaelius founded his church in New Amsterdam. The population of the city at that time was less than 300. Peter Stuyvesant charged a fine to anyone in the city who did not attend services. In 1696 King William III of England granted the church a royal charter, making it the oldest corporation in America.
The Marble Collegiate Church that now stands on Fifth Avenue at 29th Street was built in 1854. It contains stained-glass windows from the studios of Tiffany, was one of the first churches in America to have electricity, and has tolled its bell at the death of every US President since Martin Van Buren.