The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

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New York 

Lee Avenue Baptist Church

Friday, May 12, 1882

The Decorative Arts


Newspaper report

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 13, 1882

Previous chronologies mistakenly recorded the venue of this lecture as Williamsburg, VA. The correct Williamsburg is a district of Brooklyn, NY.


Lee Avenue Baptist Church, AKA: South Baptist Church

Lee Avenue between Wilson and Taylor Streets, Brooklyn, NY (now 27 Lee Avenue between Wilson and Roebling Streets)

Built: 1872 (Rev. J. Hyatt Smith, pastor)

Construction: corrugated iron and wood; laid out from designs by Lawrence B. Valk, architect 

Audience Room: the church retained an audience room from a previous brick church building on the same site for use as a lecture hall*

Seating capacity: c. 1000

Closed: July 1881

Remodeled: 1882, as a music hall

Reopened: October 1882

Seating capacity: 1700

Closed: 1895

Also known variously as Lee Avenue or Williamsburg Academy of Music, the Lee Avenue Academy #7, Phoebus Theatre (for one season), and the Lee Avenue Music Academy

Renovated: 1900, as Corse Payton’s Lee Avenue Theater

Demolished: 1916

* After the church closed in July 1881 (services moved to the All Souls' Universalist Church), it did not reopen officially as a theater until October 1882. Wilde lectured in the old audience room of the church.

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024