In 1880, eight missionaries sent to the U.S. by the British-based Salvation Army disembarked at Castle Garden in Lower Manhattan.
Ridiculed at first, the group’s presence and influence grew, particularly in New York, where “officers” ran rescue homes, soup kitchens, and lodging houses and the evangelical mission turned into what founder William Booth later dubbed “social salvation.”
And of course, they launched the tradition of setting up kettles on busy corners, asking for Christmas dinner donations for needy families.
So when it came time to build national headquarters in the 1920s, Gotham got the nod.
In 1930, a concrete and steel Art Deco complex consisting of offices, an auditorium, and Centennial Memorial Temple opened.
A women’s residence hall was also part of the complex, its entrance on 13th Street.
Though no longer the Salvation Army’s national HQ, the fortress-like structures of 14th Street stand as examples of streamlined Art Deco beauty and perfection.
The complex was designed in part by Ralph Walker, the architect behind New York Art Deco masterpieces such as the Verizon building (now the pricey residential Walker Tower) in Chelsea.
[Second photo: Salvation Army Headquarters from 14th Street, Wikipedia]