R. H. Robertson

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The Park Row Building in New York, designed by Robertson (1899)
Witherspoon Hall of Princeton University (Potter & Robertson, 1875–77)
The Charles H. Baldwin House in Newport, Rhode Island (Potter & Robertson, 1877–78)
The Church of the Presidents in Elberon, New Jersey (Potter & Robertson, 1879)
Camp Santanoni main lodge, for Robert C. Pruyn (1892–93)
Robertson's 1886 designs for a church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The main church was never built, but the chapel was, as Knox Presbyterian Church, now St. John the Martyr Roman Catholic Church (Manhattan).
The "eclectic" MacIntyre Building at 874 Broadway (1890–92) contains Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic elements[1]
American Tract Society Building at 150 Nassau Street (1894–1895)
Engine Company 55 Firehouse at 363 Broome Street (1895)
Bedford Park Presbyterian Church

Robert Henderson Robertson (April 29, 1849 – June 3, 1919) was an American architect who designed numerous houses, institutional buildings and churches.

Life and career[edit]

Robertson was born in Philadelphia of Scottish parents. His father was Archibald Robertson. He was educated in Scotland, then graduated from Rutgers College in 1869. He apprenticed for several years in Philadelphia with Henry A. Sims, then moved to New York to work first for George B. Post, then in 1873-74 for Edward Tuckerman Potter. Having completed one of the first houses in America that manifested the "Queen Anne style", a cottage for Theodore Timson in Sea Bright, New Jersey (1875),[2] he formed a partnership with Potter's half-brother, William Appleton Potter, who also trained with Post. The partnership lasted from 1875 to 1881, working in a free Gothic Revival style; Robertson, the junior partner, appears to have been responsible for the firm's residences.[3] In the 1880s, working on his own, he fell under the influence of H.H. Richardson's "Richardsonian Romanesque" a freely-handled revival style that depended for its effect on strong massing and the bold use of rustication. In the 1890s, in the wake of the "White City" of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, he began to work in a classical style.

Robertson died June 3, 1919, at William S. Webb's Adirondack lodge in Nehasane, Hamilton County, New York, which he had designed. He is buried in Southampton, New York.


Potter & Robertson[edit]

During his New York partnership with William Appleton Potter, from 1875 to 1881, the firm produced summer vacation cottages in Newport, Rhode Island, and the Jersey Shore, beginning with the Bryce Gray residence in Long Branch c.1877, now demolished.[3] Potter and Robertson also designed:


Robertson's Park Row Building (1899) at 15 Park Row, built for August Belmont, was, for a brief period, the world's tallest building.[12] Among his many other commissions in New York City and elsewhere:[13]

Robertson & Potter[edit]

In 1902 Robertson took in as partner Robert Burnside Potter, nephew of William Potter. They designed a cottage, perhaps several, for Regis H. Post in Bayside, Long Island.[3]

  • Hugh D. Auchincloss House (1903) – 33 East 67th Street[52]
  • House of Relief Ambulance Annex (1907–08) – 9 Jay Street, was attached by an enclosed overhead bridge to the House of Relief, New York Hospital across Staple Street; within the Tribeca Historic District.[53][54]



  1. ^ a b White & Willensky, p.195
  2. ^ It was illustrated in The American Architect and Building News, 22 July 1876, without the client's name (illustration Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine).
  3. ^ a b c d MacKay, Baker and Traynor, p. 165
  4. ^ Dunlap, p.135
  5. ^ illustration from The American Architect and Building News, 5 February 1876.
  6. ^ Dunlap, p.89
  7. ^ The design was illustrated in The American architect and Building News 27 May 1876 (illustration Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Dunlap, p.193
  9. ^ Illustration
  10. ^ MacKay, Baker and Traynor, pp. 165–67
  11. ^ MacKay, Baker and Traynor, p. 166; the Potter & Robertson design, as first built, was illustrated in The American architect and Building News, 12 October 1878 (illustration Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine)
  12. ^ White & Willensky pp.67–68
  13. ^ Noted in obituary, "Robert H. Robertson Dead", The New York Times, June 5, 1919 and in McKay, Baker & Traynor
  14. ^ a b White & Willensky, p.407
  15. ^ Dunlap, p.11
  16. ^ Dunlap, p.44
  17. ^ Landmark permit 23 March 2007 Archived 8 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Illustration.
  19. ^ a b MacKay, Baker and Traynor, p. 167
  20. ^ Dunlap, p.219
  21. ^ "A Starter Sanctuary", New York Times, 4 June 2009. Accessed 5 June 2009
  22. ^ Elwin Robison, and Kevin Rose, "East High Street: An Open Museum of Architecture and Enterprise" Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ National Register District Address Finder Archived 2013-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, Ohio Historical Society, 2013. Accessed 2013-01-18.
  24. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  25. ^ NYCLPC, p.98
  26. ^ Dunlap, p.116
  27. ^ Dunlap, p.186
  28. ^ St. Luke's Episcopal Church Archived 2010-01-05 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Published in American Architect & Building News 3 April 1886 (illustration).
  30. ^ White & Willensky, p.483
  31. ^ NYCLPC, p.189
  32. ^ "Pequot Library, Southport CT"
  33. ^ NYCLPC, p.27, gives the dates 1894-95; White & Willensky, p.68, gives the date as 1896
  34. ^ Landmarks Preservation Committee Designation List (pdf file)
  35. ^ NYCLPC, p.27
  36. ^ Landmarks Preservation Committee Designation List for the American Tract Society Building says 1898–99.
  37. ^ White & Willensky, p.85
  38. ^ NYCLPC, p.47
  39. ^ "In Rough Market, a Slow Market (Balducci’s) Suffers", New York Times, 6 April 2009. Accessed 6 April 2009: images.
  40. ^ New York County Savings Bank
  41. ^ NYCLPC, p.59
  42. ^ NYCLPC, p.76
  43. ^ White & Willensky, p. 196
  44. ^ "Mendelssohn Glee Club: Opening of New Home Built for It By Mr. Clark" (PDF). New York Times. 1892-12-07. p. 4.
  45. ^ White & Willensky, p.332
  46. ^ NYCLPC, p.148
  47. ^ NYLPC, p.116
  48. ^ White & Willensky, p.601
  49. ^ White & Willensky, p.210
  50. ^ Potter, Janet Greenstein (1996). Great American Railroad Stations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 121. ISBN 978-0471143895.
  51. ^ "Camp Santanoni Historic Area" on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website
  52. ^ White & Willensky, p. 397
  53. ^ NYCLPC, p.22
  54. ^ White & Willensky, p.63


External links[edit]