Colonnade Row

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LaGrange Terrace
Colonnade Row north clean jeh.jpg
view from uptown (north)
Location New York, New York
Coordinates: 40°43′46″N 73°59′34″W / 40.72944°N 73.99278°W / 40.72944; -73.99278
Area NoHo
Built 1832
Architect unknown
Architectural style Greek Revival
Governing body private
NRHP Reference # 76001242[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 12, 1976
Designated NYCL 1965

Colonnade Row, also known as LaGrange Terrace, on present-day Lafayette Street in New York City's NoHo neighborhood, is a landmarked series of Greek revival buildings originally built in the early 1830s. They are believed to have been built by Seth Geer, although the project has been attributed to a number of other architects. The buildings' original name comes from the Marquis de Lafayette's estate in France, but the series of nine row houses, of which four remain, owe their existence to John Jacob Astor, who bought the property and whose grandson John Jacob Astor III later lived at No. 424.[2] The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the name LaGrange Terrace and the facades remain standing on Lafayette Street south of Astor Place.[3]

Design[edit]

The original nine buildings

The nine original buildings, a series of Greek revival townhouses [4] built by Seth Geer, a contractor from Albany, New York (whose name is also given as "Greer"[5]) were located at 418–426 Lafayette Place on the site of the Vauxhall Gardens Amusement Park.[6] The property on which these buildings were constructed had been bought by Astor in 1804 for $45,000,[7] and when the lease for the Vauxhall Gardens was up, Astor built a wide street through the property from Great Jones Street to Art Street, which is now Astor Place, and named it Lafayette Place after the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution.[8] The original name of the buildings was Lagrange or La Grange Terrace, named after Lafayette's country estate, one of many places named in his honor in New York City and elsewhere in the United States,[9] after his triumphant return tour in 1824–25.

The buildings each contained 26 rooms and were 27 feet (8.2 m) wide, with 15-foot (4.6 m) deep front yards, uncommon at the time. Their facades were made entirely of Westchester marble and linked with a colonnade of Corinthian columns providing the homes with their current name.[10][11] The marble for the buildings was found at Sing Sing,[12] where the convicts worked to cut it for use in construction.[7]

The precise year of the buildings' construction, as well as the architect responsible are subject to some debate. The architects generally credited with Colonnade Row's design is Alexander Jackson Davis,[13] Ithiel Town, and James Dakin, who were believed to have designed the homes for the Astor and Vanderbilt families.[10] Town and Dakin are believed to have begun work on the project, which they called LaGrange Terrace, during the winter of 1831–32, during which they worked on a number of design projects. Davis is not believed to have played a role in the final construction of the building,[14] which was completed in 1833 according to the Landmarks Commission, and there are some who believe that he did not work on the design at all.[2]

Apart from John Jacob Astor III,[15] Julia Gardiner, who would become President John Tyler's First Lady lived on Colonnade Row,[8] as did Cornelius Vanderbilt, Washington Irving,[16] and Warren Delano.[6][17]

Decline[edit]

At the time of their construction, Lafayette Place, which was then a cobblestone cul-de-sac,[6] was the most fashionable area in New York City and one of the first to be developed in the city's expansion north of Canal Street.[14] The upper-class demographics of the region shifted, and by 1860 Murray Hill was considered a better place to live, and the area around the former Lafayette Place fell into decline.[7]

The original buildings located at 418–426 Lafayette Place were torn down following a failed proposal in 1902 to relocate the remaining structures to Bryant Park,[18] after more than half were torn town to make room for Wanamaker's warehouse and department store.[6][19] Some of the columns and decorative parts ended up in Morristown, New Jersey.[20]

Protection[edit]

The four buildings that remain, numbers 428, 430, 432, and 434 Lafayette Street, were among the first to be landmarked when New York City began doing so in 1965,[21] despite having been sub-divided into apartments and commercial properties,[6] altered and generally in poor condition.[22] The public hearings regarding the landmarking were held on September 21, 1965 at which time a number of people supported the landmarking and the owners presented no objections.[23][24][25][26] The buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 1976[27] after being nominated in August of the same year.[28]

The owners have announced plans to restore the buildings as recently as 1995,[2] however this has not yet happened due in part to cost.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b c Gray, Christopher (1995-12-24). "Streetscapes: Colonnade Row: 428–34 Lafayette Street; Corinthian Columns That Have Seen Better Days". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  3. ^ Kies Folpe, Emily (2002). It Happened on Washington Square. JHU Press. p. 73. ISBN 0-8018-7088-7. 
  4. ^ Wolfe, Gerald (1988). New York, a Guide to the Metropolis: Walking Tours of Architecture and History. McGraw-Hill. p. 114. ISBN 0-07-071396-0. 
  5. ^ Trager, James. The New York Chronology: The Ultimate Chronology. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Wolfe, Gerard (2003). New York: 15 Walking Tours: An Architectural Guide to the Metropolis. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 135. ISBN 0-07-141185-2. 
  7. ^ a b c "The Old van Beuren Mansion to Remain.; "Colonnade Row."". The New York Times Sunday Magazine Supplement. 1902-02-09. pp. SM3. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  8. ^ a b Nevius, Michelle and Nevius, James. Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City. New York: Free Press, 2009. ISBN 141658997X, pp. 56–58
  9. ^ Morrone, Francis (2007-11-15). "When Lafayette Landed". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  10. ^ a b Reynolds, David (2000). Whitman in his Time. Oxford University Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-19-512081-7. 
  11. ^ Merida Welles (1984-04-29). "Six Building-to-Building Tours". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  12. ^ Dix, John Adams (1864). Speeches and Occasional Addresses. D. Appleton and Company. p. 190. 
  13. ^ Rinaldi, Thomas; Yasinac, Rob (2006). Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape. p. 93. ISBN 1-58465-598-4. 
  14. ^ a b Cornelius Donoghue, John (1982). Alexander Jackson Davis, Romantic Architect, 1803–1892. Ayer Publishing. ISBN 0-405-14078-9. 
  15. ^ Gareber, Laurel (2005-04-08). "Where Wolfgang Amadeus Meets Wolfgang Bigbad". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  16. ^ "Washington Irving Statue". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. 2001-07-20. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  17. ^ "TYLER HOUSE GIVES WAY TO BUSINESS; Marble Landmark in Colonnade Row Where President Ate Wedding Breakfast. BUILT BY DAVID GARDINER Neighbors Were John Jacob Astor, Gov. E.D. Morgan, Franklin Delano, and John Milhau.". The New York Times. 1916-11-05. p. 9. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  18. ^ "Fraunces's Tavern". The New York Times. 1902-05-30. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  19. ^ Silver, Nathan (2001). Lost New York. Houghton Mifflin Books. p. 130. ISBN 0-618-05475-8. 
  20. ^ Rangefinder.com Parts of demolished houses in Morristown
  21. ^ Farnsworth, Fowle (1965-10-18). "First Official Landmarks of City Designated; 20 Sites Listed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  22. ^ Homberger, Eric (2004). Mrs. Astor's New York: Money and Social Power in a Gilded Age. Yale University Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-300-10515-0. 
  23. ^ "428 Lafayette Street Building". Landmarks Preservation Commission. 1965-10-14. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  24. ^ "430 Lafayette Street Building". Landmarks Preservation Commission. 1965-10-14. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  25. ^ "432 Lafayette Street Building". Landmarks Preservation Commission. 1965-10-14. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  26. ^ "434 Lafayette Street Building". Landmarks Preservation Commission. 1965-10-14. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  27. ^ American Association for State and Local History; National Park Service (1991). National Register of Historic Places, 1966-1991: Cumulative List. p. 527. 
  28. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form". 1976-08. Retrieved 2008-07-09.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  29. ^ Mark McCain (1987-08-02). "Despite Protections, Landmarks Decay". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 

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