VIDEO: The History of the Upper East Side Mansion Where the Pope Is Staying

September 21, 2015

Talk surrounding the Pope’s Upper East Side crash pad has been mainly focused on street closures and insane security precautions, but this video by Regis High School (h/t Carl Quintanilla) provides the interesting history of the townhouse, providing a behind-the-scenes look at Pope Francis‘ “home away from Rome.”

Built in 1894, 20 East 72nd Street was originally home to Julia Murphy Grant, daughter of U.S. Senator Edward Murphy of New York, and Hugh J. Grant, the youngest man ever elected mayor of New York City. When Grant died in 1910, he left behind a $9 million estate to his wife. Being devoutly Catholic, she used the money to establish Regis High School before her death in 1944. In 1975, their son Hugh Grant, Jr. donated his parents’ former home to the Archdiocese of New York. Since then, it’s been the home of the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations, and beginning with Pope John Paul II’s visit to New York City in 1979, it has served as the official residence of visiting pontiffs.

The five-story, 11,000-square-foot neo-Renaissance home is actually quite understated, save for the two gold Coats of Arms of the Holy See (the papal insignia) on the iron doors. What makes the home even more perfect for religious visits is that Mrs. Grant had a private chapel built inside, calling it the “Chapel of the Holy Spirit.”

[Via Regis High School]


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