Record and Guide
14 and 16 Vesey Street
Copyright, 1898, by The Real Estate Record Association
Real Estate on Manhattan Island, a Review of —
The Dutch Period 1Maps of New York City 14, 17, 20, 21, 23, 25, 31, 37
The English Colonial Period 14
From Declaration of Independence to Opening of Erie Canal 24
From Opening of Erie Canal to the Close of Civil War 33
From the Close of the War to Consolidation 45
Noted Auction Sales 130
Prices of Lots in 1847, 1857, 1868...156
Tables of Conveyances, since 1868...157
Table of Buildings Projected, since 1868...159
Real Estate Leaders:
Review of the Principal Real Estates Brokers, Agents, Auctioneers, Etc. 165-219Operating Architects, Builders and Real Estate Men 220-235
Titles to Real Estate in City of New York 236
Leading Real Estate Lawyers 247-252
Title, Trust, Real Estate and Similar Corporations 253-258
Review of the Mechanics' Lien Law: Introduction 259
The Lien Law 262Leaders in the Building Trade:
The New York Building Law 287
Review of the Leading-Builders and Building-Firms 299-350A Review of Building in New York City 352
Investment in Buildings 364Leading Building Material Firms 417-454
Mechanical Appliances in Building 367
Passenger Elevators 373
Fire-proof Buildings 377
Brick— Clay Products 395
Cements and Plasters 407
Plumbing- and Sanitary Appliances 407
Interior Finish 409,
The Builder 415,
Review of the Development of Structural Iron:
Iron Fronts, Skeleton Construction, Fire-proof Floors, Caisson Foundations 455Leading Structural Iron Firms 484
A Review of Ornamental Iron Work 489
Leading Ornamental Iron Firms 505
A Review of Architectural Terra Cotta 509
Leading Terra Cotta Firms 529
Artistic Hardware 533
Progress in Lock Making and Art Metal Working 545
Leading Hardware Firms 550
A Review of Architecture 52
Prominent Architects of the Day 697
The Singer Building 703
Illustrations: 44, 48, 49, 52, 57, 88, 89, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166, 167, 168, 220, 226, 254, 302, 308, 310, 313, 324, 325, 329, 342, 351, 354, 356, 359, 361, 363, 365, 368, 369, 371, 372, 374, 375, 376, 378, 380, 381, 383 385, 386, 387, 389, 392, 396, 397, 400, 401, 404, 405, 408, 410, 412, 418, 420, 435, 447, 457, 459, 460, 463, 468, 469, 472, 473, 474, 475, 476, 479, 480, 481, 482, 488, 489, 490, 492, 493, 494, 495, 496, 497, 499, 501, 502, 503, 504, 510, 511, 513, 515, 517, 518, 519, 520, 521, 522, 523, 524, 525, 526, 527, 532, 533, 534, 535, 536, 537, 538, 539, 540, 541, 542, 543, 544, 546, 547, 552, 554, 555, 556, 557, 560, 561, 562, 563, 566, 567, 568, 569, 572, 573, 574, 575, 578, 579, 580, 581, 584, 585, 586, 587, 590, 591, 592, 693, 694, 695, 696, 700, 703.
A Review of the History of Real Estate on Manhattan Island.
I.— THE DUTCH PERIOD.
CONTEMPORARY writer affirms that the idea of searching along the American coast for a passage to India was "suggested to Hudson by some letters and maps which his friend Captain (John) Smith had sent him from Virginia, and by which he informed him that there was a sea leading into the Western Ocean by the north of Virginia." Under the auspices of the Amsterdam chamber of the Dutch East India Company, Henry Hudson, in 1609, made an attempt to discover this passage. His adventure failed of its principal object. But the merchants of Amsterdam were quick to recognize the importance to the fur trade of the river and country which he explored. Vessels privately despatched to the Great River realized handsome profits, and certain houses engaged in this trade established a station on the south point of Manhattan Island in 1613. About the same time a stockade, called Fort Nassau, was erected on an island in the Great River, near the present site of Albany.
The Dutch government soon after published a decree giving to persons who should discover new lands the exclusive privilege of trading to such parts, the privilege being limited to four voyages. Under this enactment a fleet of five vessels was sent on a voyage of exploration in American waters, and from the journals and surveys of the several ships a large stretch of country was mapped, over which the government of Holland proceeded to claim jurisdiction. The owners of the vessels, comprising some, at least, of the merchants who had been active in the establishment of Fort Nassau and the station on Manhattan Island, thereupon received a grant of the monopoly of trade with New Netherland for four voyages, to be completed within three years of January 1, 1615. The grantees constituted a corporation, known as the United New Netherland Company, and it was in the charter creating this corporation that the territorial designation New Netherland was first officially employed. On the expiration of its charter, the company secured a continuance of existence, though not with the former monopoly of trade, for two, possibly three, years under a special annual license.
The United New Netherland Company possessed no interest in the soil, and made no attempt at colonization. However, it served a useful purpose by demonstrating the commercial value of the country, and thereby persuading, though much against its own will, the Dutch government of the expediency of entrusting New Netherland to a stronger corporation for colonial development. The Dutch West India Company, chartered in 1621, possessed a monopoly of trade on the coasts of both Americas. The company was a commercial federation, with chambers in the principal cities of Holland. To each chamber was assigned a specific territory, with the exclusive rights of trade and government appertaining thereto. New Netherland, extending from the Virginia plantations to New England, and from the coast inland indefinitely, became the property of the Amsterdam chamber. The title of the Dutch government to this magnificent domain was not undisputed by other nations, and the English had already on one occasion enforced the temporary submission of the factors at the mouth of the Hudson. This circumstance, no less than the terms of its charter, compelled the West India Company to secure its territorial interest by a substantial colonial establishment. The company's pioneer vessel, in 1623, landed a band of colonists on the river bank, near the site of Albany, where Fort Orange was erected for their protection, the older stockade having already disappeared. A smaller band was put ashore on Manhattan Island, and both settlements were augmented by fresh arrivals from Holland during the following two years, while new establishments were begun at other points.
Fort Orange and the Manhattan post were wisely located from a military as well as commercial standpoint. The former lay at the head of ship navigation, where two great Indian trails met, the one coming down from the St. Lawrence by way of Lake Champlain and Lake George, the other running through the Iroquois country to the Great Lakes. The Manhattan post, on the other hand, commanded the entrance to the Hudson River, and thus secured for the Dutch a monopoly of the most important waterway on the eastern coast of America.
Peter Minuit, the first director-general of New Netherland, arrived at his seat of authority on Manhattan Island in 1626. His first important act was the purchase of the island from the Indians for sixty guilders, or twenty-four dollars, after which he set about the erection of a fort and the organization of a town, which received the name of New Amsterdam. From the year of Minuit's arrival we may properly date the colonial existence of New York City, for in that year the essential elements of a continuous municipal life were first assembled.
Probably the first public improvement undertaken at New Amsterdam was the erection of a stronghold intended to withstand not only the primitive weapons of the Indians, but the bombardment of cannon as well. Fort Amsterdam was planned by Kryn Fredericke, a military engineer who accompanied Peter Minuit, and who "had in mind the creation of works of sufficient magnitude to shelter in time of danger all the inhabitants of a considerable town." The site chosen was the area now enclosed by Bowling Green, Whitehall, Bridge and State streets. The fort, which was begun in 1626 and finished in 1635, was about 300 feet long and 250 feet wide. Its walls, originally constructed of earth and faced with sods, were, before their completion, strengthened at salient points by masonry work of "good quarry stone." The space within the fort was eventually occupied by the governor's residence, the several offices connected with the government, the soldiers' barracks, and a church. Outside the walls clustered the private houses, constructed for the most part of logs and bark; and here also were the company's warerooms, built of stone, and a mill, whose upper story was used temporarily as a church. In 1628 the population of New Amsterdam comprised two hundred and seventy souls.
page 4 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
This was a meagre body, compared with the seven hundred emigrants who settled at Boston, under Winthrop, in 1630, or with the four thousand people living on the banks of the James, in 1622. It is evident that neither the economic nor the religious conditions obtaining in Holland were such as to induce emigration on a large scale. The company, as a matter of fact, experienced difficulty in securing settlers for New Netherland, and this circumstance led to the adoption of a somewhat drastic measure for enlisting the energies of wealthy members of the corporation in the work of colonization. In 1629, a Charter of Privileges and Exemptions was published, creating "all such" of the directors and possibly also of the shareholders, "patroons of New Netherlands who should "within the space of four years undertake to plant a colony there of fifty souls upwards of fifteen years old." Each patroon received in absolute property sixteen miles of territory fronting upon the sea or on one side of any river in New Netherland, or eight miles fronting on both sides of a river, the extent back from the water being practically unlimited; and over every such estate the owner was invested with manorial rights. Under the stimulus afforded by this charter, settlements were quickly made on both banks of the Hudson and on the shore of the bay. The commercial supremacy of the capital was assured by a grant of staple rights, in accordance with which all vessels engaged in local trade were compelled to discharge cargo at the fort or pay compensating port charges.
The Charter of Liberties and Exemptions expressly prohibited the establishment of patroonships on Manhattan Island, thereby reserving to the provincial capital ample space in which to develop. At first the city was allowed to grow without any definite plan. Each settler was permitted to build his house where he pleased, and to surround it by an enclosure of any convenient shape and size. Land was apparently occupied by unwritten sanction, for an undated paper preserved among the Dutch West India Company's documents reads as follows: "Divers freemen request by petition to the council conveyance of the lands which they are cultivating at present. The request of the petition is granted on condition that they shall, after the expiration of ten years from the commencement of their plantations, annually pay to the company the tenth of all the produce which God s'hall bestow on the land; also, in future, for a house and garden, a couple of capons yearly." It was not until 1642, when Andreas Hudde was appointed surveyor, that formal grants began to be made of town lots, and probably no title for building sites below Wall street can be traced through individual proprietors beyond that date. We may, therefore, accept this year as a convenient point of departure for a more detailed description of the physical progress of the city.
At the period in question two main roads connected the town of New Amsterdam with the outside world. One, beginning at the principal gate of the fort, which opened upon the Bowling Green, led northward along the line of the present Broadway, Park Row, Chatham street and the Bowery; and, later, along the Old Post or Boston road. The other led from the fort, along the present Stone and Pearl streets, to the Brooklyn ferry, near which is now Peck slip.
On the line of the present Broad street, with a roadway on either side, a canal extended as far as Beaver street, where it narrowed to a ditch. The ditch and canal drained a swamp that stretched northward to about the present Exchange place. On the line of Beaver street, running east and west, were lateral ditches, which emptied into the main canal, and whose banks also afforded a convenient roadway. The swamp, having been converted into a meadow by drainage, became known as the Sheep Pasture. Bridge street derives its name from a wooden passage-way that crossed the Broad street canal, or Heere Graft.
The four streets, Pearl (including Stone), Broadway, Broad and Beaver, none of which was paved, were the only important public thoroughfares in New Amsterdam about the year 1642. Pearl street followed the East River shore, for South, Front and part of Water street have since been reclaimed by filling in beyond the primitive line of high tide, as have also Greenwich, Washington, and West, on the North River. Pearl street, communicating with the populous Long Island settlements, was a well-traveled highway, and Cornelius Dircksen, the first ferryman of whom the records speak, apparently did a thriving business, for he owned much land in the neighborhood of Peck slip.
In Broad street were centered the great commercial interests of New Amsterdam, for here were the homes and places of business of the leading merchants. Upon the banks of the canal in Broad street, lighters discharged and received the cargoes of ships lying at anchor in the stream. Furthermore, between Broad and Whitehall streets, on the line of the present Moore street, lay the only wharf in town, which, however, was no more accessible to seagoing vessels than the canal. Next in importance as an artery of commerce was the canal in Beaver street, which probably received its name from the trade in beaver skins which was mainly carried on here.
The trend of development even at this early period was toward the east and north, along the East River. Population centered around the shipping and trading interests, and these grew up on the East River, in preference to the Hudson, for the reason that the salt water of the former did not freeze over in winter. Broadway was originally merely a road through fields owned by the West India Company. It was not until 1642 that lots began to be granted to individuals in this avenue, chiefly on the east side, below the present Wall street. Prior to the arrival of Stuyvesant in 1647 the west side of Broadway, between the present Bowling Green and Trinity Church, at the head of Wall street, was occupied solely by a burial ground and by the gardens and dwellings of Vandegrist and Van Dyck. The speculative value of property on the avenue seems, however, to have been appreciated, for very few of the original grantees improved their lots, but sold them in after years to actual settlers.
Private houses at this early period were mostly constructed of boards or logs, roofs and sides being covered with bark or thatch. Many of the buildings erected by the company were, however,of a more durable character. A group of five stone warehouses stood on the present Whitehall street, fronting westward, an open space of over a hundred feet in width lying between the warehouses and the fort. Part of this space was afterwards built upon, leaving a small street in front of the stores called Winckel or Store street, and extending from Bridge to Stone street. The company's bakery stood on Pearl street, near Whitehall; the company's brewery, on the north side of Bridge street, between Broad and Whitehall. The first church was commenced in 1633, religious services having previously been conducted in the second story of the company's horse-mill. The church was of frame, and stood in Broad street, at the junction of Pearl and Bridge, where it still existed a century later as a store and dwelling. It was outgrown as a place of worship in 1642. In that year a stone church, fifty-two by seventy-two, and sixteen feet high, was built within the fort at a cost of, say, one thousand dollars, and it is curious to note that the contractors were John and Richard Ogden, of Stamford, Conn. The church front contained a marble slab with the inscription: "Anno, 1642. William Kieft, Directeur General Heeft de gemeente Desen Temp-el doen bouwen." At the close of last century this tablet was discovered buried in the ground on the site of the fort, and was deposited in the belfry of the Dutch church in Garden street (Exchange place), where it was lost or destroyed in the fire of 1835. The Year 1642 also witnessed the completion of another important building operation, "a fine stone tavern," constructed for the company on the northwest corner of Pearl street and Coenties alley, to accommodate travelers from New England and the Long Island settlements. Except farmhouses, this was one of the first buildings constructed east of Broad street. It was ceded to the city on the organization of a municipal government in 1653, when it became the Stadt Huys, and continued in use as a city hall until the closing year of the century.
The fort and village proper covered only part of the region below what is now Wall street. The rest was occupied by the cultivated fields of the company and by private bouweries. The price of building lots was almost nominal, as is shown by the earliest private deed on record illustrating the value of property. In 1643 Abraham Jacobsen Van Steenwyck conveyed to Anthonv Jansen Van Fees, for twenty-four guilders ($9.50), a lot on Bridge street, between Broad and Whitehall, having a frontage of thirty feet and a depth of one hundred and ten. This piece of land was, perhaps, as valuable as any in town.
Note: In just 17 years the value of the entire island of Manhattan was reduced to the value of only two-and-a-half building lots totaling 75' x 110'.page 8 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
In 1653 two measures were perfected, which had an important bearing on real estate, namely, the incorporation of New Amsterdam as a municipality, and the fixing of the city's northern boundary by the erection of a stockade on the line of the present Wall street. The erection of the palisade was occasioned by the breaking out of hostilities between England and the United Provinces, and the consequent threat of an invasion from New England. The means of defense provided by the company was wholly inadequate for the protection of the city, and imperious Governor Stuyvesant found himself constrained to fall back for support on the newly created town magistracy. The fort had long since been outgrown, and was no longer capable of sheltering the population. At a conference between Stuyvesant and his provincial council with the local magistrates the latter, therefore, after some hesitation, consented to the imposition of a municipal tax for the purpose of protecting the land side of the town by a wall across the island. This wall, when completed, extended from river to river, and was built of posts, twelve feet in height and seven inches in diameter. Inside the stockade was an embankment which enabled the garrison to overlook the wall, and here also was a level space which eventually became known as the Cingle or Wall street. The threatened invasion from New England did not take place, and as no occasion arose to test the military value of the wall, its erection proved to have been ill-advised. For nearly half a century its effect was to restrain the natural northward growth of the city.
The order of the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company authorizing the creation of a municipal government for Manhattan Island, directed that the new magistracy should be modeled after that of Amsterdam, and should be filled by popular election. It was characteristic of Stuyvesant's arbitrary mode of government that he retained the appointment of the magistracy in his own hands, and refused altogether to fill the most important office — that of schout. The magistracy, as appointed by him, comprised two burgomasters and five schepens, holding office for one year. But despite its political insignificance, the new municipal government exercised a beneficial influence on affairs relating to the physical appearance and growth of the town.
Little regard had been paid to boundary lines in the erection of houses up to the time of Stuyvesant's arrival. Stuyvesant, soon after taking office, appointed surveyors of streets and buildings, who were empowered to prevent the erection of unsightly and improper buildings, and to regulate street lines according to the land patents: No building could be erected without plans having first been submitted to the surveyors, and approved. The condition of the streets at this time appears from the following ordinance: 'The roads and highways here are rendered difficult of passage for wagons and carts on account of the rooting of the hogs; therefore, it is ordered that the inhabitants put rings through the noses of all their hogs. It has been seen that goats and hogs are daily committing great damage in the orchards and plantations around Fort Amsterdam; therefore, it is ordered that these animals be kept in enclosures." The municipal government, as soon as supplies had been voted for protection against New England and for the conquest of New Sweden, turned its attention to town improvements. In November, 1655, the magistrates notified Governor Stuyvesant of the presence of many refugees (probably Swedes from the Delaware), who, with others, were requesting building lots on which to erect permanent dwellings; and asked that a survey of the city be made, with a view to the distribution of unoccupied land. This action on the part of the magistrates resulted in the appointment of a committee, consisting of the regular street surveyors, Burgomaster Allard Anthony, and Councilor La Montagnie, with power to make a survey of the city, open streets, and assess the price of lots.
The survey, accompanied by a map now lost, was submitted to the Governor and his council in February, 1656. The corrected street lines were marked with stakes, and owners injured by the straightening of streets were directed to apply for compensation to the burgomasters, who also had charge of the distribution of lots. The burgomasters were empowered to determine what streets and lots should first be built on. The distribution of land did not apparently prove as effective in promoting improvements as the authorities expected, for two years later many vacant lots were still to be found within the city limits. Such lots were now taxed at the rate of the fifteenth penny of their value, as appraised by the owners; and the burgomasters were authorized to take any lot at the owner's valuation, if not improved, and grant it to another.
The streets established by the survey of 1656 were T'Marcktvelt (Whitehall street, Broadway and Battery place on the several sides of the Bowling Green, which was then a public market), T'Marckveldt Steegie (Marketfield street), De Heere Straat (Broadway, between the Bowling Green and Wall street), De Hoogh Straat (Stone street, between Broad and William, and Pearl street, north side, between William and Wall), De Waal (Wall street, between Pearl and Broadway), TWater (Pearl street, north side, between Broad and Whitehall), Perel Straat (Pearl street, between Whitehall and State), De Brouwer Straat (Stone street, between Broad and Whitehall), De Winckel Straat (now closed, ran from Stone to Bridge, between Whitehall and Broad), De Brugh Straat (Bridge street, between Broad and Whitehall), De Heere Graft (Broad street, between Beaver and Pearl), De Prince Graft (Broad street, between Beaver and Wall), De Prince Straat (Beaver street, between Broad and William), De Beever Graft (Beaver street, between Broad and Broadway), De Smee Straat (William street, between Maiden lane and Hanover square), and De Smit's Valey (Pearl street, between Wall street and Franklin square).
In 1657 property owners in Brouwer street, so called from the breweries which it contained, petitioned the burgomasters to have a pavement of cobble-stones laid in that thoroughfare, and the records show that the cost of the improvement was assessed on the residents in the street. This was the first pavement laid in New Amsterdam, and the fact is commemorated in the name, Stone street, which the thoroughfare now bears. Winckel street, which has long since been closed, but which ran from Broad street diagonally through the blocks where the Mills Building and the United States Custom House now stand, was paved, as was also Bridge street, in 1658. These pavements were without sidewalks, and were drained by a gutter in the middle of the road. An ordinance of 1660 ordered the residents on either side of the ditch, or canal, in Beaver street to pave the road in front of their own doors as far as the edge of the water. The Heere Graft, in Broad Street, was, as we have seen, the main artery of commerce. The construction of sidings of wood to prevent its 'banks from caving in was commenced in 1657, and at the same time ordinances were issued against throwing filth and offal into the water, with heavy penalties for their violation. The construction of the sidings, on which three laborers were employed during the open season, was completed in 1659. The roadway on either side of the canal was subsequently paved at a cost of 2,792 florins ($1,096.80).
It is difficult to realize at the present day that Pearl Street was at one time exposed to the encroachment of the East River. High tide sometimes made access to the Stadt Huys almost impracticable. For this reason the construction of a siding of wood in front of the City Hall was begun by the public authorities in 1655, similar improvements having already been made by individual property owners at various points along the shore. To secure a continuous barrier against the water the following ordinance was published in that year: "Whereas, the sheeting in front of the Stadt Huys (near the present Coenties Slip), and before the City Gate (at Wall street), on the East River, and some other places thereabout, is finished, and some is also begun by others; therefore, for the uniformity of the work, all who have houses on the water side, between the Stadt Huys and the gate are ordered to line the banks with plank." This ordinance was the first of the public measures which have resulted in the addition of several blocks on either river to the lateral extension of the island, as well as to its southern extremity.
In a place where the houses, including chimneys, were mostly of wood, fire was a constant and threatening source of danger. Already before 1628 the settlement was almost completely destroyed by a general conflagration. Nevertheless, no adequate measures for the prevention and extinction of fires were taken until after the creation of the municipal government. In January, 1648, Governor Stuyvesant published an ordinance appointing fire-wardens and prohibiting the use of wooden chimneys in houses between the fort and the Collect, or Fresh Water Pond, which occupied several acres in the neighborhood of and including the site of the Tombs Prison. Fines were imposed on owners who refused to alter their chimneys, or in whose houses fires occurred, and the proceeds of the fines were applied to the purchase of fire-ladders, buckets, and hooks. In September of the same year the power of the fire wardens was enlarged, and they were directed to visit every house to see that chimneys were properly cleaned. These ordinances were never properly enforced, however, and ten years later wooden chimneys were still the rule. By an ordinance of December 15, 1657, thatched roofs and wooden chimneys were ordered removed, and the city magistrates were authorized to collect from every house, great and small, one beaver or eight florins in wampum ($3.20) for the purpose of procuring two hundred and fifty leathern fire buckets, also hooks and ladders. The ordinance further established a yearly tax of one florin for every chimney within the jurisdiction of the burgomasters and schepens. The buckets, properly numbered, were, in January, 1659, distributed throughout the town, fifty being placed in the Stadt Huys, twelve at the inn of Daniel Litschoe (near the intersection of the present Pearl and Broad streets), and another dozen at the house of Abraham Verplank (near the present Custom House).
No systematic policing of the city was undertaken during the Dutch regime, although Governor Stuyvesant issued ordinances against fighting with knives (1647), against fast driving (1652), and against shooting with firearms at partridge and other game within the city limits (1652). A temporary night-watch was maintained by the magistrates in 1653, during the trouble with New England. Five years later a permanent night-watch was established — nine men serving in detachments of four each night, the pay of each man being 48 cents for every night on duty, besides a gift, of one or two beavers and a quantity of firewood. Otherwise order was enforced, on occasion, by the garrison at the fort.
There was no regular post between New Amsterdam and the other Dutch settlements, chief among which were the Esopus District, Fort Orange, Fort Nassau on the Delaware, and the Long Island towns. But as to the transatlantic mails, the directors of the Amsterdam Chamber wrote to Governor Stuyvesant in 1652: "For the accommodation of private parties who often give their letters for New Netherland to one or the other sailor or free merchants, from which practice result many delays in the delivery of letters and subsequent losses to the writers and their friends there, the letters being laid in the bottom of chests or the bearers going to other places, we have fastened a box at the new warehouse, where we now hold our meetings, for the collection of all letters, to be sent out by the first ship sailing. We have deemed it advisable to inform you thereof, so that you 'may do the same in New Netherland, and send the letters, for the sake of greater safety, in a bag addressed to us. We shall hand them to whom they belong. People expecting letters usually come to the warehouse.''
Unrivaled in geographical position, New Amsterdam was from the beginning a trading city. European and coastwise commerce was attracted by one of the finest natural harbors in the world, while innumerable rivers and inland waterways made the interior accessible in every direction. Despite harrassing trade restrictions — the company's attempt at monopoly was abandoned in 1642 — New Amsterdam rapidly developed into an emporium of commerce for the Western World. To the mother country it exported tobacco and especially furs, namely, the skins of beaver, mink, deer, otter lynx, the elk, the panther, and the fox. From Holland came French and Spanish wines and brandy, leather, meat, bacon, malt, nails, lead, butter, linen and woolen stuff, oil, soap, tiles, bricks, iron rods, casks, cordage, candles,salt, spices, tar, and agricultural and domestic implements. Wheat, pork, beer, fish, and wine were carried to Virginia, for which tobacco was received in exchange. To the West Indies and the Dutch colonies at Curacoa and Brazil were sent the various kinds of goods obtained from Holland, besides Indian corn and baked bread and biscuit, dried fish, salt meat, and
lumber, return cargoes, consisting of sugar and Barbados rum. A prosperous trade was also maintained with New England and the Dutch settlements on the Hudson, the Delaware, and Long Island.
page 14 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
II.— THE ENGLISH COLONIAL PERIOD.
Peter Stuyvesant, the last of the four Dutch director-generals of New Netherland, surrendered to the English under Richard Nicolls, August 29, 1664. According to the Chevalier Lambrechtsen, the province contained at that time a population of about 10,000 souls, exclusive of Indians, and comprised three cities and thirty villages.
Page 14, 1664, 'The Duke's Plan,'
The capital city is described in a map forwarded by the conquerors to the new proprietor, the Duke of York, in whose honor the city and province were renamed New York. The "Duke's Plan" was copied from an earlier Dutch map, probably a secondary edition of the survey of 1653, and bore the title "A Description of the Towne of Mannados, or New Amsterdam, as it was in September, 1661. . . . Anno Domini, 1664." Its northern limit is where the present Roosevelt street now runs, where Wreck Brook then discharged the waters of the Collect into the East River, crossing the region still familiarly called The Swamp. North of the palisade at Wall street, the "Duke's Plan" shows but twelve buildings. Among these were Isaac Allerton's storehouses, which were south of the "passage place" to Brooklyn, situated where now is Peck slip. Below the wall the only complete block was that between Bridge and Stone streets, between which then ran the Winckel Straat, along which stood the West India Company's stone warehouses. What is now the Battery was merely a reef of scragged rocks, frequently covered by the tide. The Hudson on the west came up to the hill on which stands Trinity Church, while the East River flowed along Pearl street almost to Broadway. The westerly side of the town, from the Bowling Green, northward, and from the Hudson River to Broadway, was covered with orchards and gardens. Wolfert Webber's tavern, near the present Chatham square, was the last habitation that one passed on the highway to Harlem. The population of the city was about fifteen hundred, chiefly Dutch.
The leniency of the conquerors and the essential similarity between Dutch and English institutions prevented any serious injury to the material interests of the colony as a consequence of the transference of power. Ten months were allowed to elapse before the government of New York City was altered (June 22, 1666,) and the change involved in the substitution of a sheriff, a board of aldermen, and a mayor for the sellout, burgomasters, and schepens was more in name than in reality, as the personnel of the new government remained for the most part that of the old. The temporary repossession of the colony by the Dutch in 1673-74 produced no lasting effects.
Note: The change is national ownership of the territory seems to have done nothing to impact the edict that favored "each patroon received in absolute property sixteen miles of territory fronting upon the sea or on one side of any river in New Netherland, or eight miles fronting on both sides of a river, the extent back from the water being practically unlimited; and over every such estate the owner was invested with manorial rights."An early result of the English occupation was the opening up of a post road to facilitate intercourse between New York and Boston, The wagon road to Harlem was perfected in 1672, and formed the beginning of what became known as the Boston Post Road. A monthly mail was established in January of the following year, the postrider picking his way beyond Harlem through the primeval wilderness. In 1678, agreeably to his instructions "by all means to chiefly encourage the city of New Yorke," Governor Dongan procured the enactment of the Bolting and Baking Act, which granted a monopoly in the bolting of flour, and in the packing of flour and biscuit for export, to the residents of the provincial capital. No mill outside the city was permitted to grind flour for market, nor was any person outside the city permitted to pack breadstuffs in any form for sale. The effect of this act was to throw the export trade in breadstuffs, mainly with the West Indies, exclusively in the hands of the millers and merchants of New York. Outside the city the monopoly was denounced as injurious to the interests of the colony as a whole, and repeated attempts were made in the Provincial Assembly to have the odious law repealed. Nevertheless, it remained in force sixteen years, during which time it more than met the expectations of its promoters as a stimulus to the growth of the city.
In a petition presented against the repeal of the Bolting and Baking Act we find some statistics illustrating the city's expansion under its influence. When the law was enacted, in 1678, the total number of houses in New York was 384; the number of beef cattle slaughtered was 400 ; the sailing craft belonging to the port aggregated three ships, seven boats, and eight sloops; and the total annual revenues of the city did not reach £2,000. When the act was repealed, in 1694, there were said to be 983 houses; nearly 4,000 beef cattle were slaughtered, most of them exported ; the sailing craft comprised 60 ships, 40 boats and 25 sloops ; and the city's revenues were more than doubled. Six hundred of the 983 buildings in the city, the petition states, were connected with the prosperity of the trade in flour. The arms of New York, when the stimulated trade was at its height (1682), therefore, appropriately bore, along with the beaver, the sails of a windmill and two flour barrels as emblems of the foundation of its new prosperity.
Note: The arms of New York were and are not emblematic of a "stimulated trade" but of an "odious" monopoly.
Comparison of a map prepared in 1695 with the Duke's Plan reveals most graphically the city's progress in the intervening years. In 1664, fully one-third of the street-fronts below the palisade were not built upon, and only twelve buildings had been erected outside. By 1695 nearly all the street fronts in the city proper were improved, and new streets laid out north of the wall almost doubled the city. The trend of improvement, however, was toward the north and east, as there is nothing to show that the streets west of Broadway were evident except upon the map; and no houses seem to have been built west of what is now William street. At an auction sale of lots near Coenties slip, we find that £35 was paid for each of fourteen lots sold in 1689. In Broad street values were still higher, owing to the filling up of the canal, which was ordered in 1676, and the construction at its foot of the Wet Docks — two basins that afforded harborage for the trading vessels that flocked to the port. About this time two new wharves were also built on the East River front, Broadway was graded and laid out as far as the present City Hall Park, and seven public wells were sunk in the streets in different parts of the city as a protection against fire. In view of these evidences of commercial expansion it is not surprising to find that a lot at the foot of Broad street, in the heart of the mercantile district, was thought well worth £80.
page 17, 1695
1. The chapel in the fort of New-York
2. Leyster's half moon
3. Whitehall battery of 15 guns
4. The old dock
5. The cage and stocks
6. Stadthouse battery of 5 guns
7. The stadt- (or state) house
8. The bridge
9. Burghers, or the slip battery of 10 guns
10. The fly blockhouse and half moon
11. The slaughter-houses
12. The new docks
13. The French church
14. The Jewish synagogue
15. The fort well and pump
16. Ellet's Alley
17. The works on the west side of the city
18. The north-east blockhouse
19. The Lutheran church and minister's house
20. The stone points on the north side of the city
21. The Dutch Calvinist church, built 1692
22. The Dutch Calvinist minister's house
23. The burying ground
24. A windmill
25. The King's farm
26. Col. Dungan's garden
28. The plat of ground designed for the E. minister's house
29. The stockade, with a bank of earth on the inside
30. The ground proper for the building an E. church
31. Showing the sea flowing about N. York
32. The city gate
32. A eastern gate
Under the Bolting and Baking Act large investments had been made in shipping, which could not be withdrawn. The repeal of the act had the effect of stimulating enterprise to prevent a loss of this capital. The coastwise trade and the trade with the West Indies became brisker than ever, though the profits on individual transactions were smaller. Provisions shipped from New York were exchanged for West Indian products; these were carried to England, where manufactured goods were received in return, and brought to New York. Not all the business of the port was of this prosaic nature. During the century of practically unbroken war that began with the accession of William III., privateering, with occasional ventures in piracy, was a favorite enterprise with the merchants of New York.
Privateering at that period was a legitimate arm of war. But the step from privateering to piracy was easily made. Once at sea with the king's commission to plunder hostile nations, privateers were sorely tempted, in the absence of proper prizes, to despoil merchantmen indiscriminately. Piracy was carried on under the cloak of war, and the principal merchants connived at the practice. Putting to sea as a privateer, the pirate bore away for the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, or the Indian Ocean, where the galleons of the British and Dutch East India Companies fell an easy prey, with their rich cargoes of Oriental fabrics, spices, gold, and gems. The booty was entered at the Admiralty Court at New York as lawful spoil of war, or it was carried to Madagascar, where merchantmen from New York would repair to barter supplies for the stolen goods.
New York, at the close of the seventeenth century, contained a population of 5,000, the Dutch and English being nearly equal in number, some French, Swedes and Jews, while there were about 800 negroes, mostly slaves. By the year 1732, the population had been increased by an additional 3,600 inhabitants. In the same year we find prices of lots on Whitehall street stated at from £150 to £200 — a material increase. According to the Swedish traveler, Peter Kalm, over two hundred vessels entered and an even larger number cleared from the harbor between December 1, 1729, and December 5, 1730. The following table, compiled in November, 1729, and covering the period from Christmas to Christmas in each year, gives an idea of the volume of foreign commerce conducted at New York, and of the favorable balance of trade enjoyed by the port:
Years. Imports. Exports.
1723-24 £21,191 £63,020
1724-25 25,316 70,650
1725-26 38,707 84,850
1726-27 31,617 67,373
1727-28 21,005 78,561
The city as it was at this time is shown on a map entitled "Plane of New York in 1729, Surveyed by James Lyne." In this, as in earlier maps, the trend of development toward the northeast is distinctly emphasized. Several causes united to retard the improvement of the westerly side of the island. The business of the city was transacted along the East River. Here, the shipping of the port was harbored, because the East River, an arm of the sea, seldom freezes. Here were the shipyards and the warehouses; and here also the Brooklyn ferry and the field of competition for the Long Island trade.
page 20. "Plane of New York in 1729, Surveyed by James Lyne." 1729
Broadway was remote from the industrial activities of the town. The few dwellings that were erected along this future great thoroughfare did not venture above Liberty, then called Crown street. There were only open fields westward, above this line. These comprised the estate known originally as the Company's Farm, tilled for the benefit of the Dutch West India Company's servants, and bounded by the present Fulton and Warren streets, Broadway and the North River. The farm passed to the Duke of York, by the conquest, was extended northward, by purchase from the Annetje Jans heirs, to Charlton, or perhaps Christopher street, and was afterwards known as the King's, and later Queen's Farm. Queen Anne granted the property to the Episcopal Church in New York in 1705. The church ownership of this property was one of the factors which tended to retard the development of Broadway, for so long as building sites conveniently located could be had in fee simple no one cared to improve leasehold land.
By the middle of the century, however, the city's expanding commerce was evidently beginning to create a need for the improvement of leasehold property also. Maerschalck's map of 1755 shows streets laid out through the southern part of the Church Farm, and locates twenty-five buildings between the present Liberty and Warren streets. But the trend of development was still toward the northeast
22 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
Advance up the middle of the island was prevented by the Collect, or Fresh Water Pond; on the westerly side, by Lispenard's Meadows, a marshy valley, and a stream carrying the overflow from the Fresh Water Pond into the North River. The upper part of Broadway was merely a lane ending near the present Leonard street; and it was not until the opening of the road leading to Greenwich Village, anterior to 1760, that the west side possessed any thoroughfare that could become a line of development.
On the easterly side, however, ran the Boston Post Road, connecting the city with the populous regions inland from Long Island Sound. Over this highway, since 1732, came and went the monthly stage to New England. According to Ratzer's map, country seats lined this road in 1767 up to Madison square, and a small village had sprung up at its intersection with Monument lane. Of this lane, which led to Greenwich, two sections survive in the present Astor place and Greenwich avenue.
Map of New York. Surveyed in 1782 and drawn in 1785 by John Hills.
KEY TO MAP OF NEW YORK, SHOWING FARMS AND ESTATES.
NOTE.— The explanation of the numbers, which is taken, by permission, from the "Memorial History of New York," covers only the most important feature's or estates.
1. Extent of the city under the Dutch governor, wall along Wall Street.
2, 4, 5, 6, 12. Comprising what was known at different periods as West India Company's Duke's, King's, Queen's farm; ceded to Trinity Church in 1705.
7. The Shoemaker's Pasture (the Dutch Church Property included in the tract.)
10. Beekman's Pasture. Jacob Astor.
11. The Field's or Common.
12 ½. Negro burying-ground.
13. Estate of Jacob Leisler
14. The Swamp, a section still known by that name
17. The Roosevelt farm.
18. The Janeway estate
19. Kolk Hook.
20, 21. The Kolk, Collect, or Fresh Water Pond.
25. The Dominie's Hook, or Anneke Jans's farm.
26. Lispenard's meadows.
27. Rutger's farm.
35. A and B. De Lancey s east and west farm.
36. The Bayard farm.
37. Another portion of the Anneke Jans farm.
39. Bleeker's estate.
48, 50, 51, 52. Property of the Stuyvesants.
55. Belonging to Sailors' Snug Harbor.
56. The Brevoort estate.
64. Krom Messie (crooked little knife), corrupted into Grammercy: so-called from the resemblance of the shape of this property to that of a shoemaker's knife.
65. Rose Hill farm.
66. Estate of John Watts.
67.Estate of Admiral Sir Peter Warren, called Greenwich; the Indian name of the Point of land here was Sapokanigan.
67 D. Estate of George Clinton and John
73. Estate of Bishop Moore.
74. Clarke estate.
76. Known as the Horn estate, originally patented by Sir Edmund Andros to Solomon Peters, a free negro, whose widow and heirs conveyed it to John Horn; held by Horn's descendants till recently.
86. Kip's Bay farm
87. Murray Hill estate.
89, 93. John Slidell, formerly President of the Mechanics' Bank.
92. Estate of James A. Stewart.
98 ½. Estate of "Citizen Genet," the French Ambassador in 1794, who married Governor Clinton's daughter.
100. Estate of Richard Harrison.
107. Glass House farm, formerly belonging to Sir Peter Warren.
110, 116. Incleberg, where, 1776, General Howe and staff were entertained during the retreat of the American troops from New York.
111. The Grange, country seat of John Murray, Jr.
122. Turtle Bay, or Deutel Bay farm.
New York Public Libraries Limited Zoom Digital Map:
1782, To his Excellency George Clinton Esqr. Captain General and Governur in Chief of the State of New-York and the territories depending thereon, Chancellor and Vice Admiral of the same, this plan of the city of New-York and its environs is most humbly dedicated by his Excellency's most obedt. humble servant, John Hills, NYPL IMAGE ID: PS_MAP_CD4_53
New York Public Libraries Limited Zoom Digital Map:
Map Of New York. NYPL Image ID: 805894, Date Created: 1785, Date Issued: 1883,
24 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
III.— FROM THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE TO THE OPENING OF THE ERIE CANAL.
The British, driven from Boston and alarmed by the general uprising throughout the colonies, determined to concentrate their forces at New York. Having control of the sea, they hoped, by obtaining possession of the Hudson Valley, to prevent co-operation between the northern and southern colonies. The plan was brilliantly conceived, but was utterly defeated by the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga. This event proved the turning point in the war, although with the assistance of a large fleet the British were enabled to hold New York from September 15, 1776, to November 25, 1783. During this period of occupation the population of the city decreased from 25,000 to probably half that number. Its commerce, comprising about one-tenth of the combined foreign trade of the American colonies, was completely destroyed, while two great fires added to the suffering caused by the stoppage of business. Six days after the entrance of the enemy, namely, on September 21, the westerly side of the town was visited by a conflagration, probably of accidental origin, which is thus described in the diary of the resident Moravian pastor, Ewald Gustav Schaukirk: "In the first hour of the day, soon after midnight, the whole city was alarmed by a dreadful fire," which " raged all the night and till about noon. The wind was pretty high from the southeast and drove the flames to the northwest. It broke out about White Hall, destroyed a part of Broad, Stone and Beaver streets, the Broadway, and then the streets going to the North River, and along that river as far as the King's College. Great pains were taken to save Trinity Church, but in vain ; it was destroyed, as also the old Lutheran Church; and St. Paul's, at the upper end of Broadway, escaped very narrowly." Four hundred and ninety-three houses were laid in ruin. Two years later another fire destroyed almost the whole of the block south of Pearl street, between Coenties and Old Slips.
26 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE, BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
During the Revolution most of the patrician families remained loyal to the king. On the withdrawal of the British troops they were overtaken by the same fate which, at the beginning of hostilities, had been meted out to the Whig leaders — they were driven from the city and their estates confiscated. The exodus of the Tories and the return of the Patriots made the Young American element, with its "nervous activity and practical bent," predominant in affairs, a circumstance which partly explains the rapidity of the community's recovery from the effects of the war. Within three or, at the utmost, four years of the formal declaration of peace the city had completely regained its lost population.
The adoption of the Constitution put an end to the commercial strife between individual States which had been allowed to grow up under the old Articles of Confederation, and laid the foundation for that extraordinary material development of the United States which is one of the marvels of the present century. New York, being a seaboard town with superior inland water communication, became a chief beneficiary of the new nation's expanding industrial activities.
New York became the seat of the Federal government on the inauguration of Washington in 1789. In that year, although the city was astir with the new life that had come to it after the war, the effects of the great fires of September 21, 1776, and August 3, 1778, were not yet effaced. The Lutheran Church, which had stood on the southern corner of Rector street and Broadway, was still a mass of ruins. Trinity Church and the Middle Dutch Church were in process of reconstruction. Of private houses, perhaps the majority were in the condition in which the fire had left them. But there was activity in house building, labor, rents and produce were high, and a feeling of buoyancy pervaded the community.
From the west side of Broadway to the west side of Greenwich street, on the North River shore, the ground was more or less closely covered with buildings from the Bowling Green to what is now Reade street. Beyond Reade street, there were only a few scattered houses. On the east side of the island the area of building improvement extended farther north, namely, to the south side of Bayard's Lane, now Broome street. The south side of this lane was built upon from Mulberry street, on the west, to the present Suffolk street, on the east; and a line drawn from the southeast corner of Broome and Suffolk streets to the northwest corner of Cherry and Pike streets would mark approximately the northeasterly limit of the city. North of the present line of Reade street no streets were laid out between the North River and Mulberry street, with the exception of Greenwich street and Broadway.
The city contained a population of 29,000. The number of houses in the city was 4,200. Among the buildings were many old Dutch houses, but the prevailing type of architecture was English. An advertisement of the Mutual Assurance Company of 1789 states that buildings were mostly of frame with brick fronts, although in 1761 the Legislature had enacted that none but brick houses should be erected south of the present Duane street after January 1, 1766. The time was afterward extended to January 1, 1774, but on the 2nd of May of that year nearly 3,000citizens petitioned for the repeal of the act. The petition was not granted. ( )n the other hand, it does not appear that the law was strictly enforced for many years. Streets were narrow and crooked. Water and Queen (Pearl), for example, were in some places too cramped to allow the construction of sidewalks. On the 21st of March, 1787, the Legislature ihad authorized the Common Council to lay out new streets and to improve those already existing, and in 1788 improvements were begun. The act provided that streets already laid out should not be made wider than four rods, nor narrower than two. The sidewalks were to be each one-fifth the width of the street, and were to be paved with brick or stone and curbed. The city possessed no system of sewerage, sewage being carried to the river at night in buckets by negro slaves. The city was supplied with water by public pumps. The best water came from the Tea Pump, which was fed from the Collect and stood in Chatham street, a little to the northeast of the end of Queen (Pearl) street.
Places of interest to the sightseer were not numerous. At the lower end of Broadway was the Bowling Green, which had been inclosed as a park in 1733. Fort George lay 150 feet below the Green. The northerly side of the fort contained no batteries, and the whole structure was in a state of dilapidation and decay. On the easterly and southerly sides of the fort were large gardens. What had once been an earthwork, was known as the Battery, and extended from the south line of Battery place, along the water's edge, to Whitehall slip. The site of the fort and the Battery, being originally crown property, belonged to the State. In 1790 the site of the Battery, including a small part of the ground on which the fort stood, was granted to the city. In the same year the fort was razed to give place for a residence intended for the use of the President. Before the completion of the building the National Government removed to Philadelphia. After having been for some years occupied by the Governor the structure was converted into a custom-house. Below the fort grounds were two irregular blocks of houses, divided by Pearl street, and extending from Whitehall street, on the east, to the Battery, on the west. South of these two blocks were the Lower Bar- racks, a building 210 feet long by 25 feet deep, with an ell 70 feet long at its westerly end. The space of about 240 feet from the front of the barracks to the southerly extremity of the island was unoccupied except by the earthwork of the Battery and a small house on the west side of Whitehall street.
Broadway was paved from the Bowling Green to Vesey street, and contained several noteworthy buildings, including the Kennedy and McComb's mansions, the City Tavern (on the site of the present Boreel Building), Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel. The McComb mansion, on the west side of Broadway, was, in 1790, occupied by Washington at a rental of $2,500 a year. Transfers of real estate on Broadway in 1789 were few. Among the deeds recorded in that year, was one conveying for £700 a lot on the northwest corner of Liberty street, 25x90, with a smaller lot in the rear ; another lot, 35x90, in the same neighborhood was sold for £600. A plot on the west side of Broadway, some distance below Wall street, having a frontage of 105 feet and a depth of 270 feet to high water, running thence to low-water mark and thence 200 feet into the North River, was sold for £3,200. A Church Farm lot, 25x108.9, on the west side of Broadway, between Warren and Murray streets, brought £240, and £150 was paid for a lot 33X 190 on the avenue, near the Collect.
29 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
On the easterly side of Broadway, the Park, inclosed by a wooden fence, extended from Vesey to Murray street. North of the Park, about on the northerly side of Murray street, stood the Bridewell, Almshouse and Jail, facing south. Between the jail and the alms- house a Chinese pagoda inclosed the gallows.
Broad street, in the year under review, had descended from its high estate as the seat of foreign commerce, and was occupied by small shops and dwellings. The principal business streets in the city were Queen street (the present Pearl, from Wall to Chatham), Great Dock street (Pearl from Broad to Wall), Water street and Hanover square.
The fashionable residence street of the city was Wall street, and the value of real estate in this favored locality may be judged by the sale, in 1789, of two lots, 57x106x57x135, on the south side of the street, near Pearl, for £1,800. Federal Hall, on the northeast corner of Wall and Nassau streets, was the finest building in the city, and, indeed, in the United States, fitting its character as the seat of the National Government. It was completed in 1789, being practically a new structure, although it contained most of the walls of an older structure, the City Hall, erected in 1700. On the removal of the Federal Government to Philadelphia, the premises reverted to their original use. On the completion, in 1812, of the present City Hall in City Hall Park, the structure on Wall street, including the grounds pertaining thereto — four lots — were sold at auction, and the building demolished.
The general stage office during part of the year 1789 was at Fraunces' Tavern, No. 49 Cortlandt street, whence stages left for Albany, Boston, and Philadelphia. The route to Albany was by the Bowery lane and Kingsbridge road to Kingsbridge and thence along the Hudson River. Stages left both ends of the route on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, three days being required for the journey in summer and four or more in winter. A day's journey lasted from five o'clock in the morning until ten at night. The Boston stages left the city on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, by way of the Bowery and the Boston Post Road to Harlem, and reached Boston in about six days by traveling from three in the morning until ten at night. In October, 1789, the Boston and Albany stage office was removed to Mr. Isaac Norton's, No. 160 Queen (Pearl) street. Stages for Philadelphia left Paulus Hook twice a day, except Saturday and Sunday, when but one stage ran. From Paulus Hook there were two routes to Philadelphia, one through Newark and the other through Woodbridge. The journey occupied about three days. One might also reach Philadelphia by taking the boat which left the Albany pier on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday for South Amboy. From South Amboy stages set forth at three o'clock the next morning alternately to Bordentown and Burlington, whence boats sailed for Philadelphia. Boats for New Brunswick, N. J., left Coenties slip every Saturday morning. The New Haven boats left Burling slip, and stages for Jamaica, L. L, started from the ferryhouse at Brooklyn. There was also a stage from New York to Morristown by way of Paulus Hook. (Smith, N. Y. City in 1789, p.101.)
Among the more important public improvements undertaken at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the filling in of the Collect, a body of water covering the area approximately bounded by the present Elm, Baxter, Pearl and White streets. On the western shore of this water the Dutch found a deposit of decomposed shells; hence the name Kalch, Callech, Colleck or Collect. By the English the water was popularly known as the Fresh Water Pond. The pond was surrounded by broad stretches of swampy ground, half land and half water, which extended across the island, excepting about 150 yards of salt meadow on the North River and about 300 yards of similar meadow on the East River. A sluggish stream along the line of the present Canal street furnished an outlet into the North River, while on the opposite side a similar stream, called Wreck Brook, communicated with the East River at the foot of the present Roosevelt street; so that, at exceptionally high tide, the waters of the two rivers mingled in the Collect. By 1733 the stagnant pond had become a menace to the public health. Consequently, in that year, it was granted to Captain Anthony Rutgers, who proposed to improve its sanitary condition by a system of sluicing and damming devised by himself. This system no doubt had some effect in carrying away the unhealthy stagnation. But with the multiplication of dwelling and other houses around the Collect the sense of danger to the public from its polluted waters increased, and in 1791 the city purchased Captain Rutgers's heirs' interest in it for £150. The filling in of the pond was apparently begun in 1803, when the dirt excavated on the site of the City Hall in City Hall Park was dumped into it. But it was not until 1808 that the work was undertaken in earnest. The city being then full of sailors and laborers thrown out of employment by the Embargo act, the city government, to relieve the distress among this element of the population, engaged a large force of men to obliterate the pond by leveling into it the surrounding hills. Two years later the improvement was completed.
page 31, Plan of the City of New York, 1789
1. Federal Hall
2. 2. St. Pauls Church
3. Trinity Church
4. Old Presbyterian Church
6. North Church
7. New Presbyterian Church
8. St. George’s Chapel
9. St. Peter’s Church
11. Scots Presbyterian Church
12. Old Dutch Church
13. New Dutch Church
14. Jews Synagogue
15. Old Quaker Meeting
16. Methodist Meeting
17. Baptist Meeting
18. German Calvinist
19. Lutheran Calvinist Meeting
20. French Calvinist
21. New Quaker Meeting
22. Seceeder Meeting
23. Moravian Meeting
24. The Government House
25. Fly Market
26. Oswego Market
27. Bear Market
28. Peck Slip Market
29. New Market
31. City Alms House
35. Jews Burying Ground
36. Lower Barracks
37. Upper Barracks
38. New Methodist Church
September, 1776, London Magazine,
The filling in of the Collect was by no means an isolated instance of municipal growth and enterprise during the opening decade of the century. Despite the ruinous effect on commerce of Jefferson's foreign policy, the city continued to expand. Old streets were improved. New streets were laid out, and large tracts of outlying lands were cut up into city lots. A large part of the Trinity Church Farm, for example, was thus improved, with the result that it was rapidly built upon. In 1808 alone Trinity Corporation ceded to the city land for the following new streets through its farm : Greenwich street, from Spring to the northern limit of the farm ; Hudson street, from North Moore to Vestry; Washington street, from Christopher to the Hudson River; Varick street, from North Moore to Vestry; Beach street, from Hudson to the eastern limit of the farm; Laight street, from Hudson to its eastern boundary; Vestry street, from Greenwich to its eastern boundary; Desbrosses street, from Greenwich to the Hudson River; Le Roy street, from Hudson to the Hudson River and King, Charlton, Van Dam, Clarkson, Hamersley, Barrow and Morton streets, as far east and west as the church lands extended.
In the same year another important improvement was accomplished. The stream between the Collect and the North River was deepened and widened into a canal, which not only carried away the overflow from that part of the Collect not yet filled in, but which also drained the great swamps alongside the original stream, fitting them for use as building sites. The banks of the canal were planted with shade-trees, and a road ran along either side of the canal. The width of the whole thoroughfare, which received the name of Canal street, was 100 feet. In the course of time, the canal was arched over with brick, and became a sewer.
But by far the most important public work undertaken at this period was the surveying and plotting of the whole of the present city, between Houston and 155th streets. Hitherto, the city had been allowed to grow at random along the lines of least topographical resistance. The region below the Collect, particularly east of Broadway, was a perfect maze of crooked streets. Above the Collect, the streets, though laid out on straight lines, were cut up into several independent groups, each at variance with the others. To prevent a similar confusion in the prospective street system of the northern part of the island, the Legislature, on April 3, 1807, appointed Gouverneur Morris, Simeon DeWitt, and John Rutherford Commissioners of Streets and Roads in the City of New York, with "exclusive power to lay out streets, roads, and public squares of such width, extent, and direction as to them shall seem most conducive to the public good, and to shut up streets not accepted by the Common Council within that part of said city of New York to the northward of a line commencing at the wharf of George Clinton on the Hudson River, thence running through Fitzroy road, Greenwich lane, and Art street to the Bowery road; thence down Bowery road to North street in its present direction to the East River." Four years were allowed the commissioners in which to draw up their plan. Promptly, in 1811, their report was made, and their maps filed, although the work of surveying the streets and locating them by means of "1,549 marble monumental stones and 98 iron bolts" was not completed until 1821.
With the exception of public parks, the City Plan established by the commissioners is substantially that which exists to-day between Houston and 155th streets. This entire region, which was of an extremely diversified character, has been reduced to a more or less uniform surface by the filling in of watercourses and leveling down of hills and ridges. A rectangular system of streets and avenues was adopted because of the "greater economy and convenience in building." The avenues were made ioo feet wide. Those that could be extended to the Village of Harlem were numbered west from First avenue, which ran from the west of Bellevue Hospital to the east of Harlem Church. Twelfth avenue ran from the " wharf at Manhattanville, along the shore of the Hudson River, in which it was lost." From First to Second avenue was a distance of 650 feet; from Second to Third, 610 feet; between Third and Sixth avenues the distance between each avenue was 920 feet; west of Sixth avenue, 800 feet.
Fifth avenue was called Manhattan avenue, or the Middle road. East of First avenue were four short avenues, called A, B, C and D, respectively. The cross streets were laid out up to 155th street, 1st street running from Avenue B to the Bowery, and 155th street from Bussing's Point to the Hudson River. The streets were 60 feet wide, except 14th, 23d, 34th, 42d, 57th, 72d, 79th, 86th, 96th, 106th, 116th, 125th, 135th, 145th and 155th, which were 100 feet wide. The com- missioners supposing that the pressure of traffic would be across the island, from river to river, provided one-third more of latitudinal streets to the square mile than longitudinal. Experience has shown, however, that the pressure of traffic is on the streets running north and south. In the matter of public reservations, the commissioners set aside ground for a market, 3,000x800 feet, between 10th and 7th streets, First avenue and the East River; for a reservoir between 89th and 94th street, Fourth and Fifth avenues; for a parade, i,35ox 1,000 yards, between 23d and 32d streets, Third and Seventh avenues; and four small parks or squares. The magnificent parade of the City Plan is represented by the present Madison square, while the market was never opened. To-day, when the city is obliterating costly improvements to provide sites for small parks, the commissioners' reasons for their niggardly policy in respect of "breathing spaces" make interesting reading. "It may be a matter of surprise," they say, "that so few vacant spaces have been left, and those so small, for the benefit of fresh air and consequent preservation of health. Certainly if the city of New York was destined to stand on the side of a small stream, such as the Seine or Thames, a great num- ber of ample spaces might be needful. But those large arms of the sea which embrace Manhattan Island render its situation, in regard to health and pleasure, as well as to convenience of commerce, peculiarly felicitous. When, therefore, from the same causes, the prices of land are so uncommonly great, it seems proper to admit the principles of economy to greater influence than might, under circumstances of a different kind, have consisted with the dictates of prudence and the sense of duty."
The City Plan of the Commission of 1807 is open to criticism in several respects. Its fundamental defect, however, is that, in order to give a low gradient to the streets, it provided for the filling in of primitive watercourses. The springs and streams of the island produced a volume of fresh water sufficient to supply the city until close upon the middle of the present century. Their filing in was ordered under the impression that, when obliterated from the surface, they would disappear from the soil. But many of the springs issued from the living rock, and continued to flow, with the result that they have permanently saturated the dirt thrown into them and the beds of the streams which they originally fed. The unsanitary condition • of houses built upon such soil is obvious.
During the war of 1812, for two years, the commerce of New York was almost completely suspended. In 1814 the revenue of the United States government from the tariff was some $4,400,000. In 1815, peace having been concluded, $16,000,000 were collected- at the port of New York alone, as manufactured goods which had accumulated abroad were poured into the country. These vast importations glutted the market, and many years were required to restore trade to a normal condition. But despite the war and subsequent vicissitudes of trade, by the year 1825 the population of the city had reached 166,000 ; its northern limit of building improvement was close to Greenwich Village, Greenwich Village itself was a populous suburban ward, and a considerable settlement was springing up west of the Bowery. It is also worthy of note that in the year 1825 gas was introduced in the city, pipes being laid in Broadway from
Canal street to the Battery, by the New York Gas Light Company. Gas rapidly displaced oil lamps in the principal downtown streets, and in 1830 the Manhattan Gas Light Company was formed to supply the new illuminant in the upper part of the island.
page 36 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
The larger commercial life which New York entered upon after the second war with Great Britain was soon found to warrant the establishment of regular transatlantic lines of sailing vessels with fixed dates of departure. The famous Black Ball line of monthly — afterwards semi-monthly — packets to Liverpool was started in 1817. Two new monthly lines, the Red Star and the Swallow-Tail, were presently organized, with the result that communication was maintained between New York and Liverpool by a fleet of sixteen vessels, making weekly departures from each end of the route. Regular lines were also established to London, Havre, Greenock, and other European ports, while weekly lines plied between New York and Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, and New Orleans.
This excellent system of coastwise and transatlantic service was developed before the inland waterways tributary to New York had received any artificial improvement, and indicates the existence of perhaps as large a carrying trade as the city was then able to control by reason of natural advantages of geographical position. The time had, therefore, come when artificial exploitation of those advantages was inevitable. The project of a canal from the Hudson River to Lake Erie was brought before the Assembly by Joshua Forman in 1808, when an appropriation was granted for a preliminary survey. Two years later the movement received the powerful support of Senator, afterwards Governor, DeWitt Clinton, who thenceforward made the opening of the Erie Canal the chief concern of his political ambition. The war with England and the resulting disorder in the finances of the State caused a temporary abandonment of the project. But April 17, 1817, an act was passed providing funds for the construction of a canal 365 miles in length, with a surface width of 40 feet, a bottom width of 18 feet, and a water channel 4 feet in depth. Ground was broken July 4, at Rome, on the middle section, and the canal was formally opened October 26, 1825. The Erie Canal established the undisputed supremacy of New York City as a distributing agent for the commerce of the interior of the continent, so that when the construction of railways began their chief objective seaboard town was already determined by economic facts over which they had comparatively little control.
page 37. "New York in 1778",
New York in 1778; For the London Magazine, 1778
New York in 1778 or Map of New York I., Reprinted 1869,
The London Magazine, for April, 1778. Description of New York Island, with a Map, also of the Dangerous Passage called Hell-Gate. pages 147-148
38 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
IV.— FROM THE OPENING OF THE ERIE CANAL TO THE CLOSE OF THE CIVIL WAR.
During the forty years from the opening of the Erie Canal to the close of the Civil War, New York City pushed her northern limit of building improvements from, say, Astor place to 42d street, and grew in population from 166,000 to 726,000. In other words, her progress was greater than it had been during the preceding two hundred years. This extraordinary achievement was the result, partly, of the opening of the Erie Canal, partly, of the general introduction of steamships, railways, and the telegraph.
The first successful steamboat, commercially as well as mechanically, was launched at New York in August, 1897. The "Clermont," constructed by Robert Fulton, ran as a regular packet between New York and Albany, making the round trip in seventy-two hours, while sailing vessels occupied from four to seven days each way. A second steamboat for service on the Hudson River was built in the following year, and a third in 181 1. In 1812, two steam ferry-boats, also designed by Fulton, began to ply on the North River, other* being presently constructed for the East River. The War of 1812 prevented these experiments from being followed up with vigor, and Fulton himself died in 181 5. It was not until 1831 that a vessel, built at Quebec and named the "Royal William" steamed all the way across the Atlantic. But from this time on the development of the local coastwise and Atlantic steamship service was rapid, and in 1848 the famous Collins line of steamers was established between New York and Liverpool.
The experiments conducted in England with the steam locomotive — invented by George Stevenson in 1814 — induced the New York Legislature, in 1825, to provide for the survey of a public railway through the southern tier of counties from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, which was to compensate those counties for the opening of the Erie Canal through the northern part of the State. The report of the survey proved unfavorable, and the project was abandoned. Short local roads, however, were promptly constructed by private companies. The Mohawk and Hudson, chartered in 1826, was opened between Albany and Schenectady in 1831, being the first railway in the State. The Hudson River Railroad Company, chartered as early as 1846 to construct and operate a railway between New York and Albany, opened its line to East Albany in 185 1. In this year, also, the first of the many trunk lines which serve as feeders to the commerce of New York reached the city. The New York and Erie Railroad Company was organized in 1832 to carry out the project, abandoned by the State, of building a railway through the lower tier of counties. With the assistance of liberal loans and grants from the Legislature, the line was completed nineteen years later from Dunkirk, on Lake Erie, to Piermont, on the Hudson River. New York, however, was the natural terminal of the road, and arrangements were promptly made to run its trains over the tracks of the Union, Ramapo and Paterson,and the Jersey City Railroads from Suffern to Jersey City. None of the other great trunk lines entering the city was originally projected as such, all having been formed by consolidation of connecting lines constructed under separate charters. Thus, the second trunk line to be established between New York and the West — the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad — was organized as recently as 1869 by the consolidation of the New York Central and the Hudson River Railroad Companies.
The experimental telegraph line, constructed by Morse, between Washington and Baltimore, with assistance from Congress, was opened in 1844, and two years later a line was completed from New York to Washington via Philadelphia.
The introduction of improved means of transportation and communication inaugurated a new era in the material development of the country, as a whole, and of New York City, in particular. Before the advent of the railway, population was confined to comparatively narrow strips of land on the seaboard and along the banks of navigable streams. Land transportation, being by means of oxen and horses, over indifferent roads, the margin of profitably tillable soil was reached a short distance from the water's edge. The construction of railways opened the interior to cultivation, ancj started an immigration movement which in a few years covered the broad prairies of the Middle West with prosperous agricultural communities. From 1820 to 1829 immigration to the United States amounted only to 90,077 persons. Between 1830 and 1839 it rose to 343,517. From 1840 to 1849 ^ was I > I 6i,564, while between 1850 and 1859 Ireland alone sent 1,073,065 persons to the United States, and Germany 935,171. After 1847 emigration from the north of Europe received a fresh impetus from the potato famine of that year in Ireland, from the revolutionary movements on the Continent, which began in 1848, and from the discovery of gold in California, in the same year.
A larger proportion of immigrants, both absolutely and relatively to the population, settled in New York than in any other American city. At the same time, probably more than half of the native citizens of pre-Revolutionary ancestry drifted westward. The result was a complete change in the ethnic character of the population. By the outbreak of the Civil War the inhabitants of foreign stock far out-numbered the natives, who stood third in numerical order, the Irish being first and the Germans second. In politics, the presence of a growing body of naturalized citizens, who belonged mainly to the proletariat and the middle class, hastened the abolition of the few restrictions that remained on the full recognition of the democratic principle of equality. The mayoralty was made elective in 1834, whereupon the Democrat, Cornelius W. Lawrence, defeated his Whig rival for that office with the assistance of the Irish vote, and in 1842 all property qualification was removed in respect of city voters.
The growth of the city in extent and population encouraged the undertaking of important public and semi-public improvements. Stages for local transit were introduced in 1830, the first line running between the Bowling Green and Bleecker street. Two years later the New York and Harlem Railroad Company opened a horse rail- way — the first of its kind in the world — in Fourth avenue and the Bowery, between Prince and 14th streets. The tracks were flat iron bars, spiked to timbers. The cars, designed by John Stephenson, resembled stage coaches, the driver sitting overhead, and moving the brake with his feet. Each car was divided into three compartments, with side doors, and was balanced on leather springs. The horse
railway, however, as thus constructed, did not prove commercially successful, and the motive power was shortly changed to steam, whereupon the line was extended, first to Harlem (1837) later to Chatham Four Corners. The true era of horse railways did not begin until the Fifties. The Sixth avenue and Eighth avenue companies were chartered in 185 1, and the Second avenue, the Third avenue, and the Ninth avenue companies in 1852, when the era may be said to have been fairly introduced.
The insufficiency and impurity of the city's water supply having begun to excite popular apprehension, owing to the frequent recurrence of epidemics and devastating fires, it was determined at the spring election of 1835 to secure a new supply by the construction of an aqueduct from the Croton River, forty miles away. Some months later the necessity of completing this undertaking without delay was emphasized by a terrible fire which broke out on the night of December 16. The fire raged nearly three days, destroying 693 houses and stores, with property valued at $18,000,000, and covered an irregular triangular area of 13 acres, its course being along Wall street, the East River, and William street. Until the completion of the Croton Aqueduct, the water supply of the city was drawn from the island itself, the chief sources being the Tea- Water Pump, the town pumps, which could be found in nearly every block, the well of the Manhattan Company, and Knapp's Spring. The water from Knapp's Spring was carted about in the upper part of the city, and sold at a penny a gallon. The Manhattan Company, organized under the famous charter obtained by Burr\ in 1799, which enabled it to conduct a banking business contrary to the intention of the Legislature, furnished the city's chief water supply for domestic use, pumping its waters from a well at Cross and Duane streets, into hollow logs distributed underground through the lower portions of the city. Water for use at fires was obtained from a well and reservoir at 13th street and the Bowery, through iron pipes connecting with hydrants at convenient street corners.
page 42 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
The project of securing a new supply from the Croton valley involved engineering problems of great difficulty. A storage lake had to be created by the construction of a dam across the river, and the aqueduct — an ellipse of stone, brick and cement, measuring 8J feet perpendicularly by y\ feet horizontally — had to be carried over the valley of Sing Sing and across the Harlem River. But by the summer of 1842 the work was completed, with the exception of the aqueduct bridge across the Harlem. At this point resort was had to a temporary system of inverted siphons, or iron pipes, which made the new supply immediately available. On June 2.J the water was admitted into the receiving reservoir at Yorkville, and on July 4 it was introduced into the distributing reservoir at Fifth avenue and 42d street.
Previous to the opening of Central Park, the city's breathing places were confined to a few small squares, mostly damp and un-wholesome reservations on the site of old water courses. The propriety of providing a park, in the proper sense of the term, was first officially suggested by Mayor Ambrose C. Kingsland in a message to the Common Council of April 5, 1851. Action was promptly taken on the suggestion, and, under authority received from the Legislature, $5,028,844 was appropriated for the acquisition of the land bounded by Fifth and Eighth avenues, 59th and 106th streets, possession being obtained in 1856. The following graphic description of the site is given by Gen. Egbert L. Viele, the topographical engineer of Central Park, in the "Memorial History of New York/' "It was for the most part a succession of stone quarries, interspersed with pestiferous swamps. The entire ground was the refuge of about five thousand squatters, dwelling in rude huts of their own construction, and living off the refuse of the city, which they daily conveyed in small carts, chiefly drawn by dogs, from the lower part of the city, through Fifth avenue (then a dirt road, running over hills and hollows). This refuse they divided among themselves and a hundred thousand domestic animals and fowls, reserving the bones for the bone-boiling establishments situated within the area. Horses, cows, swine, goats, cats, geese, and chickens swarmed everywhere, destroying what little verdure they found. Even the roots in the ground were exterminated until the rocks were laid bare, giving an air of utter desolation to the scene, made more repulsive from the odors of the decaying organic matter which accumulated in the beds of the old water courses that ramified the surface in all directions, broadening out into reeking swamps wherever their channels were intercepted. " The work of improving the site was begun in 1857, and in the following year a portion of the park was opened to the public.
In 1859 the northern boundary of the park was extended from 106th to 110th street. The land contained in the second tract was practically the same in character as that of the first. Some idea of the effect which the opening of the park had on surrounding real estate may, therefore, be obtained by comparing the prices paid for the two sections. The first cost about $7,800 an acre, while the second tract cost $20,000 an acre. Within five years the taxable value of the three wards bounding the park rose from $26,429,565 to $47,- 107,393. and in ten years it was $80,070,415.
From the opening of the Erie Canal to the outbreak of the Civil War, despite financial crises (1837, 1857) visitations of the Asiatic cholera (1832) and the yellow fever (1853), disastrous fires (1835, 1845), and formidable riots (1834, 1835, 1837, 1849), New York enjoyed a period of unexampled prosperity and growth. But with the commencement of hostilities building improvements practically ceased. Of high-class dwellings, which had been increasing at the rate of 500 to 800 a year, not one-tenth as many was constructed as in the corresponding period immediately preceding, owing to the abnormal rise in the price of labor, caused 'by the exodus of the laboring class to the seat of war and the derangement of the currency. Population actually fell off 96,482, and the demand for vacant lots practically ceased.
page 45 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
V.— FROM THE CLOSE OF THE CIVIL WAR TO CONSOLIDATION.
At the close of the Civil War the city's northern limit of building improvements was in the neighborhood of 426. street. Beyond that, streets were for the most part ungraded and unpaved. In this dreary region of rocky eminences and marshy depressions, stray houses interspersed among a legion of squatters' shanties, straggled, particularly on the East Side, as far north as 86th street. Below 86th street the city contained, in 1865, 25,261 vacant lots. It was a city with a low sky-line. Square miles of territory were covered with houses of three and four stories. The Astor House and the Fifth Avenue Hotel were considered gigantic structures, and mercantile buildings were rarely over five stories in height.
The introduction of steamships, railways, the telegraph, and the horse-car, during the preceding period, was producing a revolutionary effect on the commercial and industrial life of the community, an effect which was presently heightened by the submarine cable, permanently opened in 1866, and the telephone, established in 1879. But no corresponding revolution had been effected in the productive power of real estate, and the price of land, as compared with the present day, was low. The earning capacity of real estate to-day is determined largely by the passenger elevator, rapid transit, and steel construction, and none of these agents existed as potent factors in 1865. The first apartment house, properly so-called, with its large tenantry and corresponding income, dates from 1869, and it was not until the evolution of a successful type of elevator, some years later, that mercantile buildings of more than five, or, at the utmost, six stories became economically practicable. Nothing more forcibly illustrates the revolution which has been effected in land values since 1865 than the circumstance that, over square miles of the city's territory, the major part of the buildings of that day have been replaced by loftier structures. In fact, comparatively little of the city, as jt then was, remains, except in the form of obsolete survival.*
*This radical change in land values has rendered a study of the prices which obtained prior to the close of the Civil War of academic rather than practical interest. In the preceding chapters, therefore, statistics relating to prices have not been introduced, except incidentally, and by way of illustration. To be properly treated, the subject of the progressive movement of land values before the period which we take up in the present chapter would require an enormous amount of research among public records practically inaccessible in the absence of an adequate system of indexing. It is not until we reach the files of the "Record and Guide," in 1868, that statistical information becomes available in convenient form. As we go back in time an additional difficulty is encountered in the fluctuations of the purchasing power of the monetary metals. However, the movement of land values is only a lesser part of the history of real estate. The principal part is the progress and character of improvements. The account contained in the foregoing chapters has been based on standard historical works, special acknowledgement being due to the "Memorial History of the City of New York," edited by James Grant Wilson; Janvier's "In Old New York," and Smith's "New York City in 1789." Use has also been made of less accessible authorities, as Valentine's "Manuals," "History of the City of New York," and "Ferry Leases and Railroad .Grants," Post's "Old Streets of New York," and old directories and guidebooks. For the period beginning with the close of the Civil War reliance is had almost exclusively on the files of the "Record and Guide."
New York in 1865.
The extraordinary physical change which New York has under-gone in consequence of improvements in the builders' trade and transportation facilities makes it desirable to take a closer survey of the lower part of the island as it appeared at the opening of the period under review. The Battery sea-wall, extending from the foot of West street and Battery place to Whitehall street, was not yet completed. On the other hand, the mansions of the wealthy Knickerbocker families which, before the war, made their homes in the vicinity of Bowling Green and Battery Park were for the most part converted to mercantile uses.
Few people descending from the elevated railway at the Battery to-day will recognize that historic place in Felix Oldboy's description, published some ten years ago. "Sitting here," says that delightfully reminiscent gentleman, "with every little wave of the harbor dancing in the sunlight just as it did forty years ago, when I played under the elms, with no signs warning one to keep off the grass, I recall the Battery as I first knew it. The park was not then one-half its present size. There was no sea-wall. The tide rippled unchecked among the sands that made the beach. The walks were unkempt, and the benches were only rough wooden affairs. But the breeze, the fresh sea air, the whispering leaves, the orioles and bluebirds, and the shade were there, and to the boys of the period its attractions were Elysian. Castle Garden, then a frowning for- tress still thought capable of service, was reached by a wooden bridge, and the salt water lapped its foundations on all sides."
This description recalls the fact that most of the land included in the Battery park, which now comprises twenty-one acres, has been reclaimed from the sea, chiefly since the war. According to a report of Governor Dongan, dated in 1687, "the ground that the Fort stands upon and that belongs to it contains in quantity about two acres or thereabouts." At that time the high-water mark extended in a slightly westward curve from the foot of the present Greenwich street to the present Whitehall and Water streets. All the land beyond this line has been obtained by filling in over the rocks that lined the primitive shore.
Castle Garden, originally known as Castle Clinton, was built by the Federal Government in 1807, its site being then 300 yards from the main land. In 1822, on the removal of the Federal military headquarters to Governor's Island, the structure was ceded to the city, which, two years later, leased it to private individuals as a theatre and place of amusement. It was here that the populace gathered to do honor to Lafayette, in 1824, and to Jenny Lind, in 1850. Together with the Bowery Theatre, this historic building is the only remaining landmark of the drama of the first half of the century. In 1855 Castle Garden was turned over to the State for use as an emigrant station, and as such it was known in 1865 to millions at home and abroad who had never heard of its other phases of existence. When the Federal Government assumed charge of the reception of immigrants in 1890, the building came again mto the possession of the city, by which it has been started on a new career as an Aquarium.
Broadway in 1865 was hardly less impassable than to-day, owing to the cumbersome omnibuses which ran to and from the ferries and formed part of the city's main transit system. According to a guide book copyrighted in 1867, the routes followed by the several omnibus lines were as follows : From South Ferry, through Broad- way, to 42d street; from South Ferry, through Broadway and Fourth avenue, to 326. street; from South Ferry, through Broadway, 8th street, Avenue A, 10th street and Avenue D, to 10th street Ferry; from South Ferry, through Broadway, West 23d street, Ninth avenue, and 30th street, to Hudson River Railroad Station ; from Wall Street Ferry, through Broadway, 23d street, Madison avenue and 40th street, to Reservoir square; from Fulton Ferry, through Broadway, nth street, University place, 13th street, and Fifth avenue, to 42d street ; from Cortlandt Street Ferry, through Broadway, Bleecker street, and 2d and East Houston streets, to Houston Street Ferry. The street-car lines, running north and south, were the 2d, 3d, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th avenue, the East Side, and the Bleecker street and Fulton Ferry systems, including the Yellow Line, besides which there were half a dozen crosstown routes. No street-car line had in 1865 invaded Broadway.
Stock Exchange, Broad street front, 1868. Since Remodeled.
page 49 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
In Broadway, between the Bowling Green and Wall street, we:e the offices of importers of merchandise other than dry goods, shipping agents, transportation companies, financial institutions, and lawyers, the buildings being mostly five-story structures without distinctive claims to architecture. In Beaver street, grouped around the old Produce Exchange Building (the new building was begun in 1881 and completed in 1884) were the flour, grain and provision trades. The foreign fruit and wine trade was in lower Broad street.
Old Post-Office Building, Nassau Street, Between Cedar and Liberty. Site of present Mutual Life Building.
Ihe Stock Exchange moved into its present quarters in Broad street, between Exchange place and Wall street, in 1865, and this point, then as now, was the centre of the office building district, in which stock brokers, lawyers, and the larger financial institutions were located.
In Nassau street, between Liberty and Cedar, was the Post Office, quartered in the old Middle Dutch Church building, into which it moved some years before from a hired basement in Wall street. The Dutch society purchased the site in 1728 for £575; in 1861 the site, including the building, was sold to the United States Government for $200,000.
Off City Hall Park, toward the East River, was the district of the West Indian, South American and Chinese import trades in tobaccos, coffees, teas, sugars, syrups, liquors, dye-woods, and raw hides ; farther to the eastward, between William street and the East River were concentrated, in their respective localities, the drug trade, the paint, oil and color trade, the school-book publishing trade, the iron, tin-plate, stove and hollow-ware trade, ship-chandlery, the cotton and wool commission trades, the lead-pipe and plumbing trades, and the leather trade. The chief attraction in the lower end of the city, however, was Trinity Church in Broadway at the head of Wall street — the third of the line on the present site. The first, a wooden edifice, built in 1697, was destroyed in the great fire of 1776. The second was built in 1788, and the present edifice, from plans by Richard M. Upjohn, was finished in 1846.
On the corner of Broadway and Maiden lane was the Howard House, one of the city's famous hostelries. Nearby, in Maiden lane, was the principal seat of the jewelry trade. Barnunm's Museum, at Broadway and Ann street, was burned in July, 1865, and the site was presently occupied by the five-story Herald Building, which in turn has given way to the St. Paul Building, of twenty- six stories. St. Paul's Chapel, between Broadway, Church, Vesey and Fulton streets, was the oldest church edifice in the city, having been completed in 1766. The comparative unimportance of Broadway as a thoroughfare at the time when St. Paul's was built, is apparent from the circumstance that the chapel fronts towards the North River.
Printing House square in 1865 was quite as famous as to-day, though not so imposing architecturally. The "World," the youngest paper among the great dailies, occupied rented quarters on the corner of Beekman street. It was housed in a small building belonging to Orlando B.Potter, one of the most extensive owners of New York-business property. Next door to it was the old five-story Times Building; a fire-proof structure, with massive walls of brick faced with Nova Scotia stone on its three front elevations, on Park row. Spruce and Nassau streets. This was the most imposing and in all respects the best equipped newspaper building in the city. Diagonally across the corner from the Times Building was the sanctum of the Great Abolitionist, Horace Greeley. The Tribune Building was a low, old-fashioned structure, as were also the other buildings on this side of the square. On the .opposite corner of Nassau street stood the American Tract Society's Building, a five-story red bricK structure. The building occupied by the "Sun" was by long odds tne best looking on that side of the square. It was the original Tam- many Hall, and was called "lofty and imposing" at the time when it was built. On the next corner was the famous old Earle's Hotel, renowned among newspaper men ; but it had seen its best days. The Staats Zeitung Building, on Tryon row, was not yet in existence. On Franklin square, Printing House square's modest rival at the intersection of Pearl, Frankfort and Cherry streets, were located Harper's great five-story publishing house and some smaller establishments.
When the century was still young Cherry, Monroe, Madison and Henry streets, and the cross streets, Pike, Jefferson, Rutgers, Clinton, Montgomery, Gouverneur, Scammel and Jackson, constituted the most fashionable residence section. In Catharine street were then the largest dry-goods and millinery stores in town and naturally it was the centre of the fashionable shopping trade. Lord & Taylor had their original establishment in this street. Beyond Grand street, along the East River, was the ship-yard district, while between East Broadway and Houston street, clear over to Chatham street and the Bowery, stretched the dwelling district of the ship-yard operatives and other mechanical trades. All this had changed by the year 1865. Although some of the old families still clung to their former homesteads, the fashionable centre had shifted long before the war to Stuyvesant square and Second avenue, then to Washington square and lower Fifth avenue, and in 1865 it was changing to the vicinity of Fifth avenue, about 42d street. The entire section east of Chatham street, the Bowery, and Third avenue, except the immediate vicinities of Tompkins and Stuyvesant Parks, was rapidly filling up with foreigners, the native American citizen- ship of the provident common class having sought refuge in the western side of the city, particularly in the districts comprising the old villages of Greenwich (between Canal and 14th street, west of Broadway to Houston, and west of Sixth avenue, above Houston) and Chelsea (between 14th and 34th streets west of Seventh avenue).
The County Court House, at the north end of City Hall Park, facing Chambers street, was in process of construction, having been begun in 1861. A. T. Stewart's five-story, white marble, wholesale dry-goods establishment, on the corner of Broadway and Chambers street, marked the beginning of the wholesale dry-goods district, which extended to Canal street along both sides of Broadway, and in the side streets as far west as West Broadway. There were still many private residences left in Church and Lispenard streets, but they were fast disappearing before the onward march of trade. The New York Life Insurance Company had not yet purchased the block front between Leonard street and Catherine lane, for the purpose of erecting the office building recently displaced. When this and the Park Bank and Equitable Life buildings were completed Broadway could boast the three most imposing and artistic office buildings in the country. West of Broadway, in the lower part of the city, was the machinery district; Barclay, Robinson, Murray and Warren streets contained the china, crockery, and glassware trade; and Warren and Chambers streets the saddlery and hardware trades. The stationery and blank-book trade was more scattered ; so also the trade in boots and shoes, clothing, straw goods, rubber goods and notions. West of College place and West Broadway, the wholesale grocery, wooden and willow-ware, window glass, wholesale confectionery and provision trades had their habitations. St. John's Park was not yet obliterated to furnish a site for the Hudson River Railroad Company's freight station.
On the west side of Broadway, between Reade and Duane streets, was the New York Hospital. The Bloomingdale Insane Asylum, a branch of this hospital, was located on the Morningside plateau. The larger retail stores were located on Broadway, between Canal street and Astor place, but Stewart had already covered part of the block between Broadway and Fourth avenue, 9th and 10th streets, with his giant five-story iron front "dry-goods palace." The Fifth Avenue Hotel, in Fifth avenue, between 23d and 24th streets, was the first elevator building in the city. It was opened in 1859, and was six stories high, the elevator being constructed on the principle of a revolving nut or screw. Twenty-third street was still pre-eminently a residence street.
Factors and Periods of Development.
As already indicated, the local factors of first importance in the development of real estate during the period under consideration have been: 1. The extension and improvement of rapid transit facilities, chiefly through the construction of elevated railways. 2. The adoption or evolution of new types of buildings, and improvements in building methods, such as the introduction of the apartment house, the development of the passenger elevator, and the adoption of the method of skeleton construction ; in a word, all agents whatsoever which, working through the builder's craft, have increased the accommodation obtainable from a given superficial area. 3. Public improvements.
By the year 1868 these three factors were all present in a more or less modified form, and were affecting land values by reason of the expectations created by their prospective development. The rapid transit problem, much as we know it to-day, was receiving attention. The city, it was felt, had outgrown its existing limits. It was clearly seen that speedier transportation was a prerequisite to further expansion. The Arcade Railroad, the New York Cen- tral Underground Railroad, the Through-the-block plan, the Swan three-tier road, the Gilbert Elevated Railway, the Beach Pneumatic Transit road, these and other schemes were being advanced as solutions of the problem. The era of large office buildings had opened — not, of course, with structures in the style of recent sky-scrapers, but of the first forerunners of these ; edifices such as the New York Life Insurance Company's Building, on the corner of Broadway and Leonard street, the Park Bank Building and others of similar class. A. T. Stewart, to whose vigorous enterprise New York owes its first mammoth store, had already erected the big emporiums on Broadway, at Chambers and at 10th street. On the 7th of March, 1868, the Central Park Commissioners filed their maps of the lines and grades of the street system of the West Side. Morningside Park and the Riverside improvements were drawn plainly enough on the popular map of the city, though they were not added to the departmental maps until a few years later. The annexation of the district north of the Harlem was being talked of. The Brooklyn Bridge was under discussion, though the bill creating the legal foundations of the structure was not enacted for some years. Plans were preparing for the Post Office at City Hall Park. The press was demanding a radical improvement of the dock system. Several fire-proof buildings had already been erected, and the necessity of adopting this kind of construction in the larger edifices was receiving recognition. The idea of the apartment house was fermenting in many minds. The passenger elevator had not, indeed, yet received its final development, and the skeleton system of construction was lacking. Nevertheless, both these improvements lay potentially in the new demand for higher and fire-proof buildings.
In the following pages our concern is with the foregoing local, as apart from the general conditions that have affected real estate. However, it is necessary to remember that the opening of the Far West and the multiplication of railways have in an extraordinary degree stimulated the commercial and industrial activities of the city since the war. During that great struggle one million and a half of men were withdrawn from productive occupations to serve as soldiers in the Union and Confederate armies. Their place as pro- ducers was supplied partly by immigration from Europe, but chiefly by the invention of labor-saving machinery. So great were the profits of agriculture and so limited the supply of labor that fortunes were to be made by the invention of improved agricultural implements, with the result that the mechanical genius of the people was stimulated to the utmost. It is estimated that the improved agricultural machinery of to-day enables one man to do the work that was performed by twenty at the beginning of the sixties, and the same holds true of 'other industries. At the close of the war the productive forces of the country had adjusted themselves to the abnormal economic distribution of the population. When the armies were disbanded the Union and Confederate veterans found their civil occupations for the most part gone. But in 1869 the heart of the continent was pierced by the Union Pacific Railroad, and in a few years a network of railways covered the entire West. The surplus population of the East streamed into the new country, followed by bands of immigrants from abroad. A remunerative field of labor was open to all who would enter. The Government supplied land at a nominal charge. Western competition drove the Eastern wheat-grower from his high-priced land to the factory, while the West furnished, by way of compensation, an enormously increased market for the manufacturers of the East.
The material progress of the United States between the censuses of 1870 and 1890 is one of the marvels of history. In the former year about one-third of the national domain was unsettled. The Western frontier ran irregularly parallel with the Mississippi River, but nearer to that stream than the Rocky Mountains. Excepting certain sections on the Pacific slope and in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, the Great West was virgin wilderness. Twenty years later it was a smiling agricultural region covered with thrifty homesteads and prosperous cities. The population of the United States had increased sixty-two per cent., while the taxable wealth of the nation had leaped from $30,068,000,000 to $65,037,000,000, an advance of 116 per cent. The railway mileage of the country had been increased 200 percent, and half a dozen new States had been created.
Without attempting to analyze the influence which each local and general factor has exerted, it may be premised that their total effect has been to divide the history of real estate since 1868 into three well-defined periods: 1. The speculative period, from 1868 to 1873. 2. The period of stagnation, from 1874 to 1879. 3- The period of development, particularly in building improvements, from 1879 to the present day.
page 58 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
The Speculative Period.
The year 1868 was the first year of the greatest speculative craze that has so far affected New York real estate. Traced to its primary source, it was no doubt largely one of the consequences of the inflation that followed the close of the war, but confining our attention to local causes it was the direct outcome of large anticipations, born of great contemplated improvements in rapid transit, and vast promised public works.
As a strict matter of fact, private enterprise was not actually- making great additions to the rapid transit accommodations of the city in 1868, though the street railroad lines were rapidly invading: the great avenues, nor were the municipal authorities actively engaged in pushing many important improvements, but it was settled in everybody's mind that the city was on the eve of witnessing the commencement of important undertakings from both sources. The element of speculation is one of the most active forces in promoting real estate operations. It was, therefore, only necessary for events to be shaping themselves for new developments with some measure of certainty in order to stimulate the real estate-market. In 1868 a new rapid transit system seemed to be assured.
The problem apparently had been narrowed to a choice between plans. No good reason existed for doubting that before long Harlem on both sides of the island would be as near to the City Hall as 42d street was by means of horse cars and omnibuses. The demand for great city improvements also was at that moment particularly insistent. The West Side Association was vigorously demanding the attention of the authorities to the reclamation for building purposes of the province whose destiny it was watching over. Already, on April 13, 1866, the first act of legislation had been passed for improvement of the West Side. Riverside Drive, Morningside Park, the Grand Boulevard, the widening of Broadway north of 17th street, the Eastern Boulevard, the opening of Madison avenue, were all either in contemplation in 1868 or in actual progress toward completion. We must add to the foregoing the circumstance that the war was over, the nation was bending its energies again to industrial pursuits. Perhaps as early as 1867 the real estate market felt the beginnings of the coming activity, but it was in 1868 that the boom indubitably manifested itself, and a year later it was at its height. In June, 1869, it subsided some- what ; there was a decided lull in 1870, but in the spring of 1871 a fresh start was made, which carried the movement along until the fall of 1873.
The peculiarity of this great speculative craze was that it was almost entirely restricted to dealing in lots — vacant property — lying east and west and north of Central Park. On the West Side in 1868 there were not more than half a dozen modern houses. Standing at the southwest corner of the park, stretching away to the northwest over the territory which is to-day the great residential section of the well-to-do, there was nothing to be seen but a wilderness of rocks dotted with dilapidated shanties. The region was almost as wild as at the time when Washington rallied his forces on the Heights to the north. It was traversed by countryfied roads ; indeed it was country. Here and there were a few rural houses and wayside inns, and at Carmansville the pedestrian might rest himself in a slumbrous little village which betrayed no tokens of the revolution at hand. On the East Side there was somewhat more for the visitor to see. Here again we run across the influence of rapid transit. As early as the fall of 1858, ten years before, the Second avenue cars were running to 1226. street. The Harlem Railroad extended to Harlem. With the inconvenience of two changes the traveler — it was travel in those days — could penetrate by the Third avenue line as far north as 86th street. And the cars brought with them population. Residences and stores sprang up along their routes, and although in 1868 the East Side still wore a suburban aspect, Third avenue was almost continuously built up as far north as 86th street, and Second avenue was well lined with buildings. Of course at Yorkville and Harlem there were older settlements upon which the longitudinal growth of the city was encroaching.
The growth of New York beyond the limits of the Colonial city has been strictly controlled by the nature of the rapid transit facilities. The extent of the one has ever marked the boundary of the other. First of all there was the stage coach era, when after a loose manner the villages of Greenwich and Chelsea were united. Then came the omnibus era, when the Wholesale District was confined below Chambers street and the retail stores lined Broadway as far north as Canal street, and the upper part of the residential city stretched to 14th street and beyond. The 'bus, however, failed to extend the town very much further than 23d street. The horse-car era followed, beginning in 1852, and the northernmost limit of the city was pushed upward from 23d street to, as the furthermost point, 59th street. Beyond that street it rendered only a suburban service, but it was a service which, as we have seen, did a great deal to develop the East Side. On the West Side, in 1858, the Sixth avenue cars ran to 59th street and the Eighth avenue cars to 60th street, but the progress of extension to the north was much slower on that side of the city than on the other. The horsecar, however, was the first factor that greatly contributed to enhance the value of real estate in the region north of 59th street and in the district immediately south of that street.
We start then with the extension of the horse-car lines north of 59th street and the movement of population that accompanied them into the upper section of the city. Following, and in great measure due to these advances, came the cry for extensive public improvements and the demand for speedy rapid transit lines to the Harlem. In 1868 both of these were apparently on the point of being secured. Under these circumstances it was not surprising that the speculative spirit of the community pictured the great unoccupied waste of land east and west and north of Central Park as converted within a few years into the finest residential part of the city. It was hard to believe that any one could go astray purchasing real estate, and as early as the close of 1867 the multitude commenced buying lots. Purchasers scarcely took any thought of prices and many never saw the lots to which they took title. Nothing at all approaching to business judgment controlled the market. No one had any real idea of value. Property changed hands quickly and many of these turn-overs, both on the East and West Sides, resulted in such dazzling profits that it is little wonder that the rational business instincts of the community were confounded. In January, 1869, Sacchi & Burling purchased from C. G. Havens the block between 70th and 71st streets, Eighth and Ninth avenues, for $400,000. In the middle of February they resold the same property for $505,000. On the other side of the city a plot of lots on 84th street, between Madison and Fifth avenues, was sold four times in sixty days, the first time at $40,000 and the last time at $55,000. It was in that year that the first portion of the Dyckman property on the upper West Side, in the neighborhood of 200th street, was offered at auction— the first great sale of city property and the forerunner of the breaking up of the big estates, many of which dated from Colonial times. It would be impossible to calculate the amount of realty sold during even the first stages of the boom. It was estimated that in the month of April, 1868, $6,000,- coo worth of property was sold under the hammer, but not all of this was up-town real estate, nor even New York City real estate. E. H. Ludlow & Co., it was reported, sold between the first of January and the last of June $2,525,125 worth of property; Muller, Wilkins & Co., $7,212,000, and Homer Morgan (all at private sale) $7,000,000 worth. A factor that contributed greatly to the activity at this period was the revival of the contract system, which had played an important part in the real estate boom in the fifties, and which received a fatal blow in i860, when property decreased so suddenly in value at the commencement of the war. By the operation of this system large tracts of land were secured, usually on ninety days' contract, by depositing 5 per cent, of the purchase money. The land thus obtained was mapped out and sold under hammer at the salesroom. Every artifice of the speculator, indeed, we may say of the gambler, was employed. The Exchange rooms, at No. in Broadway, were constantly thronged. The mock auction business flourished, and it is estimated that perhaps as much as two-thirds of the sales reported were bogus.
*In 1858 lots on 5th avenue, at 125th street, were worth $1,000; at 124th street, $800. On 120th, 119th, 118th and 117th streets, east of 5th avenue, street lots were worth, perhaps, $600, and corner lots $850. At ll(Jth street, Bleecker & Sons sold a corner lot at $1,500, and inside avenue lots at $1,200. Street lots adjacent brought about $800. Between 110th and 115th streets, avenue corners were sold for $1,400 to $1,600; inside lots, $1,025 to $1,115. Street lots could be purchased for from $385 to $325. This standard of prices ruled, but increasing with every block southward to 59th street, around which point avenue lots were worth $5,000 to $7,000. West Side property at this period received little attention, and there was scarcely any market for real estate as there was on the East Side.It deserves to be noted that this increase in real estate values was not confined to New York, but was very marked in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and elsewhere in 1868. As events have turned out, much of the property bought then no doubt would have yielded substantial, and in some cases magnificent profits, had the purchasers been able to hold on, pay taxes and weather the inevitable occurrence of hard times. The boom of 1868 and the following years, however, was not an investors' movement. It was purely speculative, and even those investors who did participate in it were not consciously laying out their money for profits to be secured fifteen or twenty years later. All that was necessary to prick the boom was the arrival of some circumstance that would occasion a vigorous scrutiny of the movement. This did not come until 1873, when the panic, which upset so many solid calculations in the mercantile world, effaced the very notation of the golden arithmetic upon which these real estate operations were based. Between 1868 and 1873 it is safe to estimate that the value of vacant
*In the up-town section the following prices were obtained in 1869: 70th street, west of 8th avenue, about $8,000 per lot; 73d street, west of 2d avenue, $2,000; 81st street, west of 11th avenue, $4,000; 88th street, east of 9th avenue, $4,000; 100th street, west of 2d avenue, $4,000; ICOth street, west of 9th avenue, $3,000; 116th street, west of 2d avenue, $2,600; 125th street, west of 4th avenue, $4,500; 134th street, east of 5th avenue, $2,500; on 5th avenue, east side, north of 62d street, two lots sold for $50,000; 5th avenue, southeast corner of 67th street, six lots, for $120,000; 5th avenue, northeast corner of 110th street, two lots, for $20,000; 8th avenue, west side, 27.2 north of 82d street, two lots, $20,000; 9th avenue, northeast corner 70th street, two lots, $14,900; 9th avenue, southeast corner 71st street, two lots, $15,900; 9th avenue, northwest corner 98th street, two lots, $7,200; 9th avenue, northeast corner 123d street, four lots, $11,400; 10th avenue, north- east corner 83d street, two lots, $5,750; 10th avenue, northeast corner 90th street, one lot, $7,000; 10th avenue, northeast corner 118th street, eight lots, $22,000; 10th avenue, northeast corner 145th street, nine lots, $25,000; 11th avenue, west side, 25.5 south 69th street, two lots, $6,050; 11th avenue, southeast corner 145th street, seven lots, $34,000.
In 1870 the subjoined representative sales were made: Boulevard, west side, 25.8 south 72d street, one lot, $11,500; Boulevard, west side, between 140th and 141st streets, ten lots, $70,( 00; Boulevard, southeast corner 141st street, two lots, $5,300; Boulevard, northeast corner 147th street, five lots, $19,000; 60th street, north side, 40 east of 4th avenue, eight lots, $95,200; S5th street, north side, 173 east of Avenue A, four lots, $6,500; 85th street, north side, 100 east 9th avenue, six lots, $30,000; 86th street, north s s de. property north of 59th street seemingly increased fully 200 per cent., and in many cases 300 or 400 per cent. 325 west of 3d avenue, one lot, $9,000; 111th street, south side, 80 west of 4th avenue, two lots, $3,100; 115th street, south side, 270 west of 3d avenue. five lots, $14,000; 118th street, south side, 285 west 5th avenue, six lots, SI 5,000; 125th street, north side, 260 east of 3d avenue, two lots, $7,000; 127th street, north side, 250 east of 7th avenue, two lots, $0,000; 135th street, south side, 185 west 5th avenue, two lots, $0,000; 140th street, north side, 250 east 11th avenue, two lots, $9,500; Avenue A, northeast corner 85th street, five lots, $14,425; Madison avenue, northeast corner 77th street, five lots, $62,000; 2d and 3d avenues, 101st and 102d streets, the block, about fifty- two lots, $80,000; 2d avenue, southwest corner 105th street; four lots, $12,000; 3d avenue, southeast corner 75th street, twelve lots, $68,000; 3d avenue, northwest corner 84th street, six lots, $70,0C0; 4th avenue, northwest corner 76th street, three lots, $18,000; 4th avenue, west side, 100.10 north 110th street, two lots, $2,600; 5th avenue, east side, 50.5 south 63d street, two lots, $70,000; 5th avenue, northeast corner 65th street, three lots, $87,500; 5th avenue, east side, 50.5 north 67th street, one lot, $32,500; 5th avenue, east side, 52.2 south 84th street, two lots, $40,000; 5th avenue, southeast corner 97th street, five lots, $35,000; 8th avenue, west side, 15.5 south 71st street, two lots, $30,000; 9th avenue, northwest corner 100th street, four lots, $14,250; 9th avenue, northwest corner 208th street, eight lots, $2,780; 10th avenue, northeast corner 106th street, nine lots, $40,000; 10th avenue, southwest corner 121st street, four lots, $14,000; 10th avenue, southeast corner 211th street, four lots, $2,200; 11th avenue, southeast corner 97th street, five lots, $14,000.The speculation which raged north of 59th street was not by any means so intense south of that thoroughfare, although there was a brisk demand for property in the immediate neighborhood of 59th street. In the lower sections of the city, activity manifested itself chiefly in the shape of building operations and in the transformation of the older residential sections to the purposes of trade. Indeed, in 1868 an important up-town movement was well under way. The retail business was in progress of transference from a centre which may be placed, approximately, considerably south of 14th street to a centre near to 23d street. The movement was similar to the shifting which we are witnessing to-day to 42d street. As to the choice residential region of the city, it had already, some years before, commenced to move tip-town into the streets between the 30th and 50th parallels. Fourteenth street was still a street of private boarding houses and Union and Madison squares were occupied chiefly by dwellings. Invasion by the storekeeper, however, had already produced marked effects upon the character of this district. A. T. Stewart, as we have seen, was in 1868 just completing his mammoth store at Broadway and TOth street. The old Peter Lorillard residence, on the northwest corner of Broadway and 1oth street, was being converted into stores. Lake & McCreary in that year purchased the corner of Broadway and nth street, opposite Grace Church, for business purposes. Arnold, Constable & Co. had begun to build at the southwest corner of 19th street and Broadway. These were the chief of the advance guard. The new Tammany Hall had been recently completed. Plans had been filed for five stores on the northwest corner of 18th street and Broadway, also for the Grand Hotel, southeast corner of Broadway and 31st street, which was to cost $250,000. The Young Men's Christian Association Building, at Fourth avenue and 23d street, was under way. In 1870 the Park Hotel, not then intended for a caravansary, was built; Lord & Taylor's Broadway store was in the course of erection ; Tiffany's iron building was erecting ; the Masonic Temple on 23d street had been commenced ; likewise Bryant's new Opera House (later Koster & Bial's) on the same street west of Sixth avenue. The Gilsey House had been started. Much building, though not of a commercial character, had been clone (about 1870) between 32d and 52d streets, Fifth and Lexington avenues. The Church of the Messiah, No. 61 East 34th street, was completed, so were the Astor houses on Madison avenue, 34th and 35th streets, and the Hospital for the Lame and Crippled, Lexington avenue and 37th street. The Church of the Covenant, on the northwest corner of Park avenue and 35th street, and a fine residence on the southwest corner of Park avenue and 39th street, from designs by the architects Remvick and Sands, were building. The Grand Central Depot was under construction. St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, on the southwest corner of 44th street and Madison avenue, was commenced, also the Collegiate Reformed Episcopal Church, on 48th street and Madison avenue, and the Presbyterian Church on the same avenue at 53d street. The foregoing facts serve to indicate the character of the work and development that was in progress in the district we are speaking of. It was plain New York was moving up into the central part of the island. The city had quite outgrown the old limits. Expansion was a necessity. Schemes were on foot for relieving the pressure of traffic on Broadway by means of thoroughfares on the East Side. The proposition for widening Broadway north of 17th street was under active discussion. People were debating between the extension of Centre street northward to 4th street, bending at 4th street into a crescent to meet Third or Fourth avenues, and the proposition to widen Elm street. The opening of Madison avenue north of Madison square was also on the card. Indeed, it was in February, 1868, that the opening of that avenue from 86th street to 120th street was ordered. *
*As to the value of property in this central district, the following- transcript from the official conveyances will serve as indications: Four lots, northwest corner of 7th avenue and 39th street, sold in 1868 for $38,0CC, 105 Waverley place, 25x105, brought $24,000; the southwest corner of Madison avenue and 45th street was purchased for $18,000; the west side of Broadway, 25.7 north 49th street, 50x99, was sold for $32,500; 23d street, south side, 161 west of 5th avenue, 20x98.9, sold for $55,000, and 399 6th avenue, 20x100, for $28,400. John Hoey purchased the southwest corner of 5th avenue and 22d street for $115,000. Broadway, northwest corner 11th street, 76.7x196.7x23.1x178, was sold for $321,000; Broadway, southwest corner 19th street, 82x171, for $375,000; Broadway, west side, 25.7 north 49th street, two lots, for $32,500; Lexington avenue, northeast corner 46th street, five lots for $31,000; Madison avenue, northeast corner 34th street, four lots for $55,000; 1st avenue, northeast corner 47th street, six lots for $35,000; 4th avenue, west side, 98.9 north 38th street, four lots for $61,000; 6th avenue, northeast corner 23d street, 98x141, the plot, $340,000; 7th avenue, northwest corner 39th street, four lots, $38,000. A year later, in 1869, 38th street, south side, 100 east 11th avenue, three lots were sold for $8,500; 43d street, north side, 125 east of Lexington avenue, two lots for $15,000; 44th street, south side, 275 east 11th avenue, two lots for $4,000; 46th street, north side, 200 west 9th avenue, three lots for $12,000; 4th avenue, south- west corner 36th street, four lots for $75,000.In 1872, in the new fashionable district which was creating within the area roughly bounded by 42d and 59th streets, Madison and Sixth avenues, there were 200 costly buildings in the course of erection. It was an era of high prices, due to paper money, and the extravagant cost of building will be sufficiently indicated by the following table:
Mechanics' wages for day of 8 hours. $5 to $8.
Labor wages $2.75 to $3.25.
Hard Bricks $14 to $18 per thousand.
Cement $2 to $2.25 per barrel.
Lime $1.50 to $1.75.
Timber $25 to $30 per 1,000.
Georgia Pine $50 to $60.
page 66 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
It remains only to be said that in the early seventies the apartment house or French flat was introduced. The Stuyvesant in 18th street, between Third avenue and Irving place, from designs made by Mr. Richard M. Hunt, was the first of the class, and it was followed shortly by the Haight houses at the corner of Fifth avenue and 15th street. The Albany, the Saratoga, the Knickerbocker, the Florence, the Osborne do not belong to this period. Although the first apartment buildings were said to have been, financially, very successful — as much as 30 per cent., it was reported, having been made in some instances in the first four years — the new idea at the beginning was not popular. It was even opposed, and not for some years, until after 1873, did the public take kindly to what is now one of the chief institutions of the metropolis.
The only part of the city that remains to be considered is the down-town wholesale district. We have already indicated that in 1868 it was the seat of important building operations which within a few years revolutionized the character of this, the oldest portion of the metropolis, and greatly multiplied the productiveness of its real estate. Indeed, within this district the builder has always been the most important factor in enhancing the value of real estate. Improvements in rapid transit, of course, have not been without effect there, but they have worked indirectly by aiding the con- version of the district to business purposes. The depopulation of this section has been slow but continual during the past thirty years. In 1868 the residents of the First, Second, Third and Fifth wards numbered 47,392, whereas in 1895 the population was only 28,163 (police census), in spite of the great growth of the city elsewhere and the denser peopling of the isolated residential spots that remain in these lower wards resulting from the introduction of the tenement house system. In 1868 the work of replacing the older office buildings, which were really little more than private houses on a large scale, by modern specialized structures had commenced, and it is curious to note that the newspapers were among the first innovators in this movement as they have been more recently in the erection of the tower-like sky-scrapers. The "Times," as far back as 1859, had erected its once familiar headquarters, since replaced by the present Romanesque structure, and in 1868 Oswald Ottendorfer purchased for $250,000 the corner on Chatham street and Tryon row, on which to build the new building for the "Staats Zeitung." In 1866 the "Herald" put up its old building, on the corner of Ann street and Broadway ; and in 1873 the "Tribune" led the way to still higher altitudes than had been reached by any other building with the edifice in which it is at present housed. We have already spoken of the Park Bank Building, the New York Life Insurance Co.'s Building, the Equitable Life Assurance Society's Building, all under way in 1868. The generation that witnessed the erection of these structures regarded them as enterprises of startling extravagance.
The wholesale dry goods district at this time extended to Canal street ; and the erection of warehouses was beginning to disturb the peace which had hitherto prevailed among the dwellings on Lispenard and Church streets. Broome street, near Greene street, was also then invaded by the growing commercial necessities of the city. The extent of building operations in this district is shown in the fact that in June, 1868, $3,345,000 worth of new buildings were in progress on Broadway alone, south of 14th street.
Our review of the city is now complete, and we come to the dark days of 1873, when the nation entered the wilderness of low prices and financial depression, whence it did not emerge until 1879. is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that all departments of industry suffered during these times, and real estate fared no worse than did other commodities. Indeed, it suffered less than some.
*Property down town changed hands infrequently then as now. The following transactions come from the records for the years 1868, 1869, 1870 and 1871, and serve to give the reader an idea of the range of values: Broadway, No. 153, sold for $50,000; Nassau street, northeast corner of Pine street, 76.11x71.7x81.3x70.5, the plot, for $470,000; Nassau street, southeast corner of Cedar street, 73.1x71.7x65.7x73.3, the plot, for $500,000; Bowery, No. 179, 25.3x104, International Insurance Co., with building, $165,000; Broadway, No. 294, 24x130, to George Sloane, with building, $150,000; Broadway, northwest corner Washington place, the New York Hotel, the plot, with building, $1,095,000 (sold since practically for land alone, for $1,300,000) ; Broadway, northeast corner 21st street, four lots with buildings, to Wm. M. Tweed, $600,000; Pine street, No. 11, 23.9x73.9, March 10, 1871, $65,800; No. 58 Pine street, John P. Coffin to Cornelius Bogert, $25,000; Reade street, Nos. 137 and 139, 50x75, $24,000; No. 55 Ann street, $22,700: 316 Broome street, $12,000.page 68 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
The sad auditing of extravagances, inflation, wild speculation, unsound economic practices began with the failure of Jay, Cooke & Co., on September 18, 1873. The height of the acute stage of panic was reached on the 20th, when the Union Trust Co. suspended and the Stock Exchange closed its doors. The duration of the panic was about one month, and, as is usually the case, securities felt the shock first, then general business, and, last of all, real estate. Indeed, it was not until the fall of 1874 that the process of liquidation actually began in real estate. However, the process, once started, was a long one; it continued for fully three years. Naturally the inflation of values north of 59th street was pricked in an instant. The equities of thousands of property owners were wiped out as with a sponge. But the destructive process did not stop with the obliteration of the purely fictitious. The decline wrought havoc with legitimate values. All property suffered — suffered severely. For a time there was really no market by which one could discover the plane of prices. Everything that was sold was slaughtered, and, in a multitude of cases, selling was merely the process by which the mortgagee gathered up the remnants of what was left. It is estimated that fully one-half of the speculative builders, who were so busy in 1872, disappeared, and their exit from the field with the lot speculators was followed by a perfect avalanche of foreclosure sales, or rather, we should say, of foreclosure proceedings, which went by the name of sales. Below are the statistics of these transactions:
Total foreclosures from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.
1871 ....... 674
1872. . . 1,012
1876, ... 2,533
1877, ... 2,259
1878, ... 2,378
It might be thought that with the merest indication of the actual state of affairs the whole situation would be apparent to everybody.
page 69 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
Yet, astonishing as it may seem, it must be recorded that so corrupted was the commercial judgment of people that in face of the disaster overwhelming them they did not at first recognize the real nature of their position. It will be remembered that in the midst of the panic Secretary Richardson, at Washington, inaugurated another inflation movement which had a short duration of about nine months. Incomprehensible as it may seem, while it lasted, real estate operations actually were renewed on almost as extravagant values as those prevailing before the crash. A demand for realty rose in the spring of 1874 which almost equalled the extraordinary activity of the spring and fall of 1868. Grant's famous veto put a stop to the insanity, and then the long period of depression and stagnation began in earnest.
The Period of Stagnation.
The second stage of our history is now reached. Roughly speaking, it comprises the years 1874 to 1879 inclusive. As to the causes that produced and intensified the panic of '73 and the stagnation that followed they undoubtedly were: An inflated and irredeemable currency, delay in providing the city with adequate rapid transit facilities, extravagances in building, abuses of the building loan system, an abnormal condition of labor, dishonest and incompetent administration of the city government under the Tweed regime, the large amount of trading done upon inadequate capital.
In proceeding to a discussion of the factors that slowly made themselves felt in the production of better times, the first that has to be set forth is this — the destruction of values that resulted from the panic was, with an immense amount of realty, excessive. This imparted a certain latent strength to the situation. Of course so long as the downward pressure was exerted to the utmost, this could not be manifested, but the strain once removed, rebound was inevitable. It was long, however, before the market received any visible advantage from its latent strength.
Another circumstance that aided the market, though it operated very slowly, was the vast accumulation of funds in the vaults of the banks and other financial institutions. True, for a long time this sequestered capital was very zealously guarded, and far from supporting or promoting ordinary operations was as good as non- existent. Owners would neither lend nor use it. But there it was; and locked up money, like a dammed stream, exerts a continual pressure against its restraints. It percolates and leaks through the smallest fissure and continual accumulations inevitably result in an overflow. Thus, while the locking up of money assisted greatly in depressing values and even in lowering prices beyond the warrant of facts, it created opportunities for investment and profit which in the end proved too attractive to be resisted. As early as 1876, one by one, here and there, capitalists began to pick up the bargains in real estate obtainable in every class of property in every part of the city. The big companies, the wealthier house buyers entered the market and the slow process of absorbing the surplus stock of houses and buildings commenced. The builders and professional speculators took no part in this movement. It was quite beyond their power to do so. In 1874 there was a complete cessation of building operations in the new fashionable residential district between 426. and 59th streets, Madison and Sixth avenues. The panic found scores of houses there tenantless, and prices fell so that by 1876 first-class residences which could not be purchased for less than $85,000 in 1873 could readily be acquired for $60,000. A great deal of this decline was legitimate enough, due to the fall in wages and materials. Dwellings that cost $50,000 merely to put up in 1873 could in 1876 be easily duplicated for $35,000. We have already given a table showing the cost of wages and materials in the former year. It will be interesting to present here for the sake of comparison a similar table for the latter year:
Mechanics' wages (10 hours a day in place of 8 as formerly) $2
Laborers' wages (do) 75c. to $1.
Hard bricks $6 per thousand
Cement $1 to $1.25 per barrel.
Lime 75c. to $1 per barrel.
Lumber $15 per thousand.
Georgia pine $16 to $18.
page 71 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
After the panic the first houses to find purchasers were the costliest. We have said that in 1872 there were 200 of these in the course of erection in the fashionable district. One by one they were taken off the market at prices that were ruinous to builders, so that at the beginning of 1876 there were only thirty-eight of these (and the few others that had been built in the meantime) remaining unsold. Purchasers of medium-priced dwellings were almost entirely absent from the market at first, but after a time they too came following in the wake of the richer investors. By 1877 the effect of this slow absorption was visible, the supply of buildings was far below the average. Concurrent with this process went similarly great transactions in lots.
In the fashionable district there were about three hundred and fifty vacant lots when the panic arrived. Many of these passed slowly into the hands of wealthy purchasers and a few strong, conservative builders. Millionaires like Wm. Rockefeller, Bostwick and Stevens began building on upper Fifth avenue, near the Park, and by the 1st of January, 1877, extensive operations were in progress in the 50th streets, between Fifth avenue and Fourth avenue, conducted by builders Duggin & Crossman, O'Reilly, Rathbone, Byrnes, Hamilton, Bradley & Co., McManus, Phyfe, Lynch and others ; indeed, it is to be noted that it was about this time that the limits of the seat of building operations were extended several blocks northward on the East Side above 59th street. It thus happened that there were appearances of something like prosperity in this part of the city. Lots above 59th street, east of the Park, the district which, as we shall find, was to engage the builders' attention until the next decade, had declined enormously in value. Choice lots that brought $35,000 in the days of the inflation were selling for $11,500, and somewhat less desirable lots for $6,000 to $8,000. Avenue lots, opposite the Park, that sold in speculative times, corners for $100,000, inside lots for $75,000, could be bought for $40,000 and $25,000. These figures give a good idea of the intensity of the slump that followed the panic.
While these improvements were slowly making themselves visible in the northeast, large capitalists were contributing: immensely to strengthen the situation down town and elsewhere. The Western Union Headquarters, the 'Tribune" Building, the American News Company's Building on Chambers street (the site of the old Burton's Theatre, for which the present proprietors paid $180,000), the Jefferson Market Police Court, the Bennett Building, Fulton and Ann; Booth's Theatre, the Domestic Sewing Machine Company's Building, on Union square ; Chickering Hall, the Church of the Paulist Fathers and others, were commenced. Moreover, the early years following the panic witnessed the actual introduction into New York of the apartment house as we know it to-day. We have already alluded to the first enterprises with this class of buildings and have pointed out that though they encountered a great deal of adverse criticism on the score of intruding an element of publicity into home life, they evidently satisfied the requirements of many persons. Financial success not only prompted investors and builders to erect others, but to set about to develop this new type of residence. Between 1873 and 1879 the apartment house was thoroughly naturalized or localized in New York. The most important of these buildings then erected were the Knickerbocker, on the southwest corner of Fifth avenue and 14th street, on the site of the old residence of Myndert Van Schaick ; the Berkeley, on Fifth avenue and 9th, built by the Rhinelander estate on land that had remained long vacant ; the Albany, the Saratoga, the Stevens, and in June, 1876, the Osborne, due to the enterprise of Duggin & Crossman. In 1877 the Bradley apartment houses on 59th street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, were commenced.
The buying and building of this period was mostly in strong hands. In November, 1876, Joseph Harper bought the dwelling on the corner of Fifth avenue (No. 562) and 46th street, for $82,500; the southeast corner of Fifth avenue and 29th street was sold for $120,000; in 1877 W. H. Vanderbilt acquired No. 691 Fifth avenue, between Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth streets, from Stephen U. Cadwell, who gave $70,000 for the property; Nos. 87 and 89 Wall street were purchased by George W Denton for $110,250; No. 599 Fifth avenue sold for $72,750; D. H. McAlpine acquired No. 373 Broadway, 24.10x150, for $125,000; the Queen Insurance Company began their building at Nos. 37 and 39 Wall street; August Belmont bought the block between St. Nicholas and Seventh avenues, 112th and 113th streets, for $50,000; the iron store building at Nos. 5, 7 and 9 Union square (destroyed by fire in 1876 and recently replaced by the Spingler Building), to cost $110,000, was commenced, so was the office building at No. 43 Wall street, the estimated cost of which was $125,000. The Lorillard, Wolf, Rhinelander and Roosevelt estates made extensive improvements upon their several properties. The Roosevelt estate erected on the site of the old homestead, on Broadway, near 13th street, the store now occupied by Mitchell, Vance & Co. The Ottendorfer building, on Fourth avenue and 26th street, 'The Bella," was started, so were structures by Mr. Little, at Union square and 17th street, by Matthews, at Fourth avenue and 18th street. Altman's store, on Sixth avenue and 18th street, was commenced in 1877, and down town, on the block bounded by Worth, Elm, Pearl and Broadway, the ancient and dilapidated rookeries that stood there were replaced by modern business buildings. Many improvements at the lower part of Wooster street were begun. The work of modernizing the older buildings on 14th street was carried along. Clearly these transactions indicate very substantial progress. Yet the market continued dull, foreclosures were numerous, speculation was dead, rents were low — only half of what they had been — the long process of liquidation was not complete. General business, however, throughout the country was picking up slowly, the mercantile world was emerging from the woods. There was a plethora of money in the banks, and one of the beneficial results of this was felt in 1876 when the rate of interest upon mortgage loans was reduced from 7 to 6 per cent, and 5 per cent, for gilt-edge security. Funds could then be obtained freely for first-class operations, and in a short time this favorable circumstance began to stimulate building. The building loan operator entered the field with activity at this period, so that in July, 1877, of 500 dwellings then in course of construction by builders only seventeen had been started without the assistance of a loan.
In 1878 we touch a decided activity in building; indeed, the tone of the entire real estate market had improved considerably. During 1877 many large investments for improvements, including the purchase by David McAlpin of the Sweeny block, on Broadway, between 33d and 34th streets, had been made, and at this time the transaction was consummated which was in a sense the turning point of the destiny of the West Side. Edward Clark purchased the block of thirty lots on Eighth avenue, between 72d and 73d streets, and the adjacent block of twenty-eight lots on Ninth avenue.
The following representative sales show the range of prices that obtained for vacant lots (the asterisk denotes building loan transactions):
Fifth Avenue.— Conveyances were extremely limited on the avenue after the panic. In the spring of 1875 Duggin & Crossman bought of W. S. Gurnee 40 feet front on the block between 47th and 48th streets, at the rate of $45,000 for a full lot. A year subsequently Wm. Rockefeller purchased of Jacob Vanderpool the full lot on the northeast corner of 54th street and 5th avenue, for $50,000. About a year later Edward Silleck purchased of C. & R. Poillon a full lot in middle of block, between 52d and 53d streets, next adjoining the Osborne House, for $35,000. Some element of trade is supposed to have entered into this valuation.
Madison Avenue. — Conveyances were numerous and noteworthy, although the avenue seemed threatened with a total and fatal eclipse after the establishing of the horse-car route through its entire length. The prejudice against this intrusion gradually wore away, and the brilliant success of a firm of builders in disposing in the spring of a whole block of houses on this avenue immediately on completion encouraged other projections. Cash transactions indicate prices ranging from $12,000 to $15,000 per lot, including corners: Between 44th and 45th streets, Livingston to Duggin, 2 lots, $14,250 each;* between 45th and 46th streets, Hemenway to Bellman, 10 lots, $19,800 each; southwest corner 54th street, Connell estate to Dinklespiel, 4 1-5 lots, $15,000 each; southwest corner 54th street, Dinklespiel to Hennessy, 4% lots, $16,250 each;* southeast corner 55th street, Barnum to Duggin, 3 lots, $12,000 each; northeast corner 55th street, Jones estate to Episcopal Church, 3 lots, $15,000 each; southeast corner 56th street, Jones estate to Duggin, 5 lots, $13,000 each.
The bulk of the transactions in lots occurred on the side streets as the most popular and salable property when improved, the lots, besides, admitting of more economical and judicious treatment in building. The prices in strictly cash transactions indicate a range of from $11,250 to $14,500. The purchase of two lots on 58th street, opposite the Plaza, for $20,000 each, made at this time by Bryan McKenna, is exceptional in price and location; *53d street, between Madison and 4th avenues, Lowe to Darragh, 7 lots, $15,000 each; 54th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Dinklespiel, purchaser, 7 lots, $12,250 each; *54th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Dinkelspiel to Lynd, 7 lots, $14,000 each; 55th street, between Madison and 5th avenues, Jones estate to Ely, 2 lots, $14,500 each; 56th street, between Madison and 5th avenues, Jones estate to Smith, 6 lots, $13,000 each; *56th street, between Madison and 5th avenues, Smith to Lynd, 6 lots, $14,500 each; 56th street, between Madison and 4th avenues, Jones estate to Webb, 1 3-5 lots, $11,250 each; 57th street, between Madison and 4th avenues, Stewart to Duggin, 7 lots, $14,000 each; *57th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Einstein to Sullivan, 2 lots, $25,000 each; 58th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Ferris estate to Smith, 9 lots, $12,500 each; *58th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Smith to McManus, 9 lots, $16,000 each; *58th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Morton to McKenna, 3 lots, $16,000 each; 58th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Smith to Dowdney, 2 lots, $12,000 each; *58th street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Marsh to McKenna, 2 lots, $20,000 each.
The subjoined table shows the range of prices in respect to improved property:
Fifth Avenue. — The -sales on this avenue were so few as to afford little variety of quotation: Southwest corner 44th street, Brokaw purchaser, 28x 125, 4-story brownstone, $115,000; between 47th and 48th streets, east side, Duggin seller, 2 each 18x65x100, 4-story brownstone, $52,500 and $60,000;' between 48th and 49th streets, east side, Brokaw purchaser, 27x70x100, 4-story house, $72,500; between 49th and 50th streets, west side, Duggin seller, 15x125, leasehold, $32,500; between 50th and 51st streets, west side, Labau purchaser, 25x60x125, leasehold, $65,000.
Madison Avenue. — Sales principally confined to houses of the Duggin & Crossman make, of such original and peculiar construction as hardly to furnish a general standard: Between 44th and 45th streets, east side, Wainwright purchaser, 25x60x100, 4-story, brownstone, $32,500; between 53d and 54th streets, east side, Hamilton seller, 2 each, 20x65x85, 4-story, brown- stone, $30,000; between 55th and 56th streets, east side, Duggin seller, 18x 60x100, 4-story, brownstone, $26,000; between 55th and 56th streets, east side, Duggin seller, 32x48x60, 4-story, brick, $35,000; southeast corner 56th street, east side, Duggin seller, 25x50x60, 4-story, brick, $33,000.
Side Streets.— The greatest variety of sales and the most intelligible standard of values were to be found on the side streets. By the transactions re- ported we seem warranted in quoting these assorted values, the locations and qualities of buildings being technically first-class. For a 16 or 17-foot front house and lot, $24,000 to $25,000; for a 20-foot, $28,000 to $32,500; for a 22-foot, $32,500 to $35,000; for a 25-foot, $40,000 to $45,000. 43d street. 5th and Madison avenues, Lustig seller, 16.8x60x100, $25,000; 46th street, 5th and 6th avenues, unknown seller, 20x50x100, $24,000; 49th street, 5th and 6th avenues, McCafferty seller, 16x60x100, $24,000; 54th street, 5th and 6th avenues, Bradley seller, 16.8x65x100, $24,000; 54th street, 5th and 6th avenues, Lynd seller, 2 each, 20x65x100, each $32,000; 54th street, 5th and 6th avenues, Lynd seller, 23x65x100, $35,000; 58th street, 5th and 6th avenues, McManus seller, 20x50x100, $28,000 and $32,000; 58th street, 5th and 6th avenues, McKenna seller, 3 each, 25x75x100, each $44,000; 52d street, 5th and 6th avenues, Union Dime seller, 25x70x100, $44,500.During the years of depression the West Side has been in a large measure neglected. Of building operations there were none. All the great public plans for improvements which had an effect so stimulating during the years of the boom were allowed to lie dormant ; and to such a low point had the fortunes of real estate in this district fallen that even the street openings and the other few similar betterments ordered from time to time were so great a burden that property-owners appealed to Mayor Ely for relief. The value of lots, of course, had fallen immensely. Good street lots could be obtained for from $2,000 to $3,000 ; Ninth and Tenth avenue lots for from $4,000 to $5,000; Eighth avenue lots that prior to 1873 nac * commanded such exorbitant figures were now on the market for prices ranging from $7,000 to $15,000, according to location. Undoubtedly, the reaction carried prices below the intrinsic worth of property, and during 1876 and 1877 some capital was put into West Side realty, just as it was going, but in much larger amounts into the East Side property. During the hard times many large blocks of property were sold at auction. In July, 1876, thirty-three lots between Riverside and Eleventh avenues, 90th and 91st streets, were put under the hammer and fetched $75,850, or $2,298.50 per lot. This property had been owned by Cyrus Clark for about ten years. The Furniss property was also sold. On May 17, 1877, the Morris estate sale was held of lots on Grand Boulevard and I52d street. In the heart of what was then Carmansville, at 122d and 123d streets, close to Morningside Park, twenty-three lots on the latter street brought $16,245, the lots on 122d street selling for $625 to $720 each, and the 123d street lots at $565 each. For the purpose of contrast it is interesting to note that in April, 1873, before the panic, four lots on the south side of 122d street, 200 feet west of Tenth avenue, directly opposite the Morris lots, sold under foreclosure for $3,400 each. We have al- ready spoken of the block August Belmont purchased, between St. Nicholas and Seventh avenues, 112th and 113th streets, for $50,000. This purchase was made May, 1877. The auction sales of large blocks of property throughout these years were numerous, but as an offset it must be remembered that many of the sales that ostensibly were bona fide were really bogus.
The Period of Development, 1879 to Date.
The year 1879 brings us to the close of the period of stagnation.. We have enumerated above some of the factors that aided in bringing about better times for real estate, but there are others now to be mentioned. The country had not only quite recovered from the depression produced by the panic, but by readjustment of its affairs and the enforced economy incident to dull times had acquired a large fund of capital and confidence. In 1879 New York real estate first began distinctly to feel the improved conditions. Prices were still low and money was cheap and abundant, population had greatly increased and was pressing somewhat upon the domiciliary and mercantile accommodations of the city. Besides, taxes* had been reduced from the extravagant limits that prevailed in 1873, and what is of still greater importance the elevated railroads were beginning to perform a service for the metropolis which gave them the first place among the rapid transit facilities of the city.
*The following table exhibits the reductions made in the charges upon real estate:
As to the elevated roads, they played so important a part, one might almost say the capital part, in the revived activity in real estate during 1879-80 and the years following that it will not be out of place to set down here the chief points in the history of the extension and development of this system. We have already referred to the fact that among the plans that were before the people in 1868 for improved rapid transit was one for an elevated road system. Indeed, as early as July 1, 1867, an experimental section of elevated structure was commenced on Greenwich street, from Battery place to Cortlandt street, and was completed May 10, 1868. A single car was then run between these two points, no fare being charged, this fragment of the system having been constructed simply to demonstrate the feasibility of the new method of locomotion. It cannot truthfully be said that the device captured at first either the imagination or the favor of the public. On the contrary, it was much frowned upon by them as a disfigurement to the streets of the city, and engineers and railroad men increased the popular disfavor by pronouncing the scheme to be decidedly chimerical and foolhardy. Indeed, of all the projects before the city in 1868, perhaps there was none to which New York seemed less committed than the elevated roads. The system, however, possessed that Caliban quality, cheapness, which has forced the elevated roads, one after another, into the streets and avenues of New York until the usurpation furnishes a unique example of civic prostitution of appearances to utility. The experimental line was slowly continued north of Cortlandt until on February 14, 1870, it was completed to 31st street and Ninth avenue. At first the road to this point was operated by an endless chain system driven by stationary engines placed underground. This method of traction proved a failure and the service was irregular and intermittent until April 20, 1871, on which date one dummy engine and three cars were placed on the line and run between Dey and 29th streets — the only two stations then existing. On January 4, 1873, extensions and repairs having been completed, the line was opened southward to No. 7 Broadway, at which point another station was established. Further extensions of the Ninth avenue line followed slowly in the following order: July 30, 1873, to 34th street and Ninth avenue; November 6, 1875, to 42d street and Ninth avenue; July 18, 1876, to 59th street and Ninth avenue; April 15, 1877, to South Ferry. On June 9, 1879, the main line double track was extended from 59th street and Ninth avenue to 83d street and Ninth avenue and opened for business with stations at 72d and 81st streets. The Ninth avenue division was operated at first until May 2, 1880, as a single line road with turn-outs. It was then entirely rebuilt and opened as a double track system.
The Sixth avenue line from Morris street to 59th street and Sixth avenue was opened June 5, 1878, and additions in the following order: Fifty-third street and Sixth avenue to 53d street and Eighth avenue, February 25, 1879; 53d street and Eighth avenue to 81st street and Ninth avenue, June 9, 1879; ^ Ist street and Ninth avenue to 104th street and Ninth avenue, June 21, 1879; 104th street and Ninth avenue to 125th street and Eighth avenue, September 17, 1879; 125th street and Eighth avenue to 135th street and Eighth avenue, September 27, 1879; I 35 tn street and Eighth avenue to 155th street and Eighth avenue, December 1, 1879; Morris street to South Ferry, November t, 1881.
The Third avenue line was opened for business between South Ferry and 426. street and Fourth avenue, August 26, 1878; from 426. street and Third avenue to 67th street and Third avenue, September 16, 1878; 67th street and Third avenue to 89th street and Third avenue, December 9, 1878; 89th street and Third avenue to 129th street and Third avenue, December 30, 1878. The first excursion train from South Ferry to 129th street and Third avenue was run December 24, 1878.
The Second avenue line from Chatham square to 67th street, was opened March 1, 1880, and from 67th to 129th street August 16, 1880.
The Suburban line was opened between 128th street and Second avenue and 133d street, May 17, 1886; to 143d street, May 23, 1886; to Harlem River Bridge, November 29, 1886; to 156th street, July 1, 1887; to 166th street, December 25, 1887; to 170th street, September 29, 1888; to Wendover avenue, May, 1891; to 177th street, July 20, 1891; to Willis avenue, July 18, 1891.
The foregoing makes the fact clear that it was in the years 1879-80 that New York began to experience the effects of adequate rapid transit facilities, and to this fact probably more than to all others put together is due the activity in real estate and the increase in values that commenced in those years. In 1879 the new elevated roads contributed much to the increasing strength of the market. Particularly on the upper East Side they stimulated the builder, who was already busy in that district. It was early in that year (1879) that the New York Elevated Railroad Company purchased the block, then used as the cattle-yards of Dutcher & Allerton, bounded by Third and Fourth avenues, 98th and 99th streets, paying for the property $120,000. At once a great number of tenements were erected in the streets adjoining Second and Third avenues, east and west, and between Madison and Fourth avenues, and adjacent thereto as far north as 125th street the speculative builder was active putting up row after row of stereotyped brownstone residences. In one week, that ending May 24, 1879, plans were filed for sixty- two dwellings to be erected on Madison and Fourth avenues, 112th, 114th, 115th and 124th streets. Prices were advancing, but were still much below the figures ruling before the panic. For instance, the block 201.10x420, between Fifth and Madison avenues,- 106th and 107th streets, was sold to William P. Van Valkenburgh for $180,000. In 1873 the same property was sold to T. A. Vyse for $370,000. Charles M. Field paid $204,050 for the property in 1878. Still the upward tendency of prices was marked. There was a brisk demand for lots, not altogether normal, it is true, due to the unhealthy stimulus of the building loan, and there was a decided activity in the house market. Population was spreading into the East Side, now that rapid transit was secured, and it was clear that in that section of the city was to be continued the expansion and development which had formerly been confined to the central district, south of 59th street. Substantial capitalists began to operate on the East Side, and the northeastern part of the island. Arnold, Constable & Co. from time to time acquired much property there, and late in 1879 paid $200,000 for two blocks on the east side of Sixth avenue, between and upon 135th and 136th streets. Everywhere on the East Side people were buying and selling and building.*
*As to the character and location of the new work, the following record of new houses started in the fall of 1879 above 59th street, extending from 3d to 5th avenue, one year after the first excursion train was run over the 3d avenue elevated road to 129th street, shows both:Population was pouring into the district. Not only was land advancing in value, but as early as 1879, due to building activity, the price of materials and labor advanced, though the enhancement at first was not extravagant, as the following table shows:
59th st, n s, e of 5th av, 6 brownstone houses, Mr. Todd, owner; 61st st, s s, cor 4th av, store and residence, P. Ehrmann; 61st st, s s, e of Madison av, 2 brownstone houses, J. M. Hazeltine; 61st st, n s, w of Madison av, 2 brownstone houses, Parsons & Breen; 61st st, n s, e of 5th av, residence, W. B. Isham; 62d st, n s, e of Madison av, 3 brownstone houses, James McDonnell; Madison av, w s, n of 62d st, 10 brownstone houses, I. E. Doying; Madison av, e s, cor 63d st, brownstone flat, Jas. Campbell; 63d st, s s, e of Madison av, 5 brownstone houses; 63d street, n s, e of 5th av, 4 brownstone houses, Mr. Williams; 63d st, s s, e of 5th av, 3 brownstone houses, Mr. Sinclair; 64th st, s s, w of Madison av,2 brownstone houses, Wm. Johnson and D. & J. Jardine; 64th st, n s, w of Madison av, 4 brownstone houses, Mr. Croft; 64th st, n s, cor 4th av, 9 brownstone houses, Mr. Cornish; Lexington av, w s, s of 62d st, 4 brownstone houses, Thos. Kennedy; Lexington av, w s, s of 65th st, 6 brownstone houses, Mr. Parsons; Madison av, e s, s of 65th st, 6 brownstone houses, Willett Bronson; 65th st, s s, w of Madison av, 5 brownstone houses, B. Spaulding; 66th st, s s, e of 5th avenue, 4 brownstone houses, Breen, Nason & Hughes; 66th st, n s, e of Madison av, 2 brownstone houses, Breen & Nason; 66th st, s s, e of Madison av, 5 brownstone houses, I. E. Doying; 66th st, n s, w of 4th av, 6 brownstone houses, Willett Bronson; 66th and 67th sts, and 4th and Lexington avs, Seventh Regiment Armory, I. E. Doying; 67th st, s s, w of 4th av, 10 brownstone houses, J. Ruddell; 67th st, n s, e of 4th av, 11 brownstone houses; 67th st, s s, w of Madison av, 8 brownstone houses; 67th st, n s, w of Madison av, 4 brownstone houses, B. Muldoon; 68th st, s s, e of 5th av, 5 brownstone houses, B. Muldoon; 68th st, s s,e of 5th av, 5 brownstone houses, ; 68th st, s s, e of Madison av, 3 brownstone houses, McCafferty & Bulkley; 68th st, s s, w of 4th av, 5 brownstone houses, Mr. Fowler; 5th av, w s, cor 69th st, brownstone residence, David Dows; 70th st, s s, e of 5th av, 2 Nova Scotia houses, Vanderbilt and Henry Eastman; 70th st, s s, w of Madison av, 5 brownstone houses, Thos. Pearson; 71st st, n s, w of Lexington ay, 3 brownstone houses^ M. McDonnall; 72d st, s s, e of 4th av, 4 brownstone houses, Mr. Graham; 72d st, n s, e of 4th av, 7 brownstone houses, Mr. Webb; 73d st, s s, w of Lexington av, 5 brownstone houses, Mr. Hennessy; 74th st, n s, e of 4th av, 4 brownstone houses, Aldhous & Smyth; 74th st, n s, e of Madison av, 5 brownstone houses, John Davidson; 75th st, s s, e of 4th av, brick boarding-stable, Many & Osborn; Lexington av, e s, n of 74th st, 6 brownstone houses, W. H. Browning; 75th st, n s, w of 3d av, 4 brownstone flats, P. McQuade; 76th st, s s, w of 3d av, 4 brownstone flats, Mr. Stewart; Lexington av, e s, n of 76th st, 6 brownstone houses, H. McKenna; Lexington av, w s, n of 76th st, 6 brownstone houses; 76th st, n s, e of Madison av, 6 brownstone houses; 77th st, n s, e of 5th av, 3 brownstone houses; 77th st, n s, w of 4th av, 8 brownstone houses; 79th st, n s, w of 4th av, 6 brownstone houses, Squires & Woolley; 4th av, e s, cor 80th st, brownstone store and tenement; 80th st, n s, w of Lexington av, 4 brownstone houses; Lexington av, w s, n of 81st st, <> brownstone houses; 5th av, e s, cor 83d st, brownstone residence, Mr. Arnold; 83d st, n s, w of 4th av, 5 brownstone houses, Mr. Sturtevant; 83d st, n"s, e of Lexington av, 6 brownstone houses, Judge Wandell; 85th. st, n s, w of 3d av, 3 brownstone flats, Mr. Johnson; 3d av, w s, n of 85th st, 2 brownstone flats; 86th st, n s, w of 3d av, 6 brownstone houses; 87th st, s s, w of Lexington av, 4 brownstone; 86th st, s s, e of Madison av, 2 brownstone houses; 90th st, n s, e of 4th av, 2 brownstone houses, Q. W. Hawkes; Lexington av, s s, n of 91st st, 6 brownstone houses; 94th st, n s, w of 3d av, 6 brownstone houses; 95th st, n s, w of 3d av, 6 brownstone houses; 95th st, s s, w of 3d av, 12 brownstone houses; 3d av, w s, n of 101st st, 5 brownstone flats and stores, Duffy Bros.; Lexington av, w s, n of 104th st, 12 brownstone houses; 109th st, n s, e of 4th av, 8 brick tenements and stores; 105th st, s s, e of 4th av, 5 brownstone houses; 110th st, s s, cor of 4th av, 2 brick tenements and stores; 110th st, n s, w of Lexington av, 3 brownstone houses; 110th st, n s, e of 4th av, 10 brick houses; 112th st, s s, e of 4th av, 6 brick houses; 114th st, n s, e of 4th av, 8 brownstone houses; 115th st, n s, e of Lexington av, 3 brick houses, Mr. Heart; 115th st, s s, w of Lexington av, 4 brownstone houses, B. R. Richardson; 116th st, n s, e of 4th av, 7 brownstone houses; 116th st, n s, w of 3d av, 4 brick houses; 117th st, n s, e of Lexington av, 8 brick houses; 124th st, s s, e of Lexington av, brick residence; 125th st, n s, w of Lexington av, row of flats and stores; Lexington av, w s, n of 125th st, 2 brownstone houses; Lexington av, w s, cor 127th st, brownstone house; 125th st, n s, w of 4th av, brick residence and store; 124th st, s s, e of Madison av, brownstone houses; Madison av, e s, s 124th st, 5 brownstone houses; Madison av, w s, n of 113th st, 6 brick houses; Madison av, e s, n of 111th st, 4 brownstone houses; 111th st, n s, w of 4th av, 10 brownstone houses; 111th st, s s, w of 4th av, 6 brownstone houses; 111th st, n s, e of Madison av, 3 brownstone houses; Madison av, w s, s of 111th st, 5 brick houses.
page 82 A HISTORY OF REAL ESTATE,
The fatal weakness in this East Side "boom/' for boom it was during the earlier years, was its speculative character and the small amount of hard cash underlying the transactions. The fictitious element in prices was particularly large. Inflated trading was heavy and much of the building was carried on upon extravagant building loans which enhanced the price of real estate ridiculously before it passed into the hands of the builder, himself in many cases a man of small means. One example of this inflation will be sufficient. Early in 1879 slx l° ts on 7^th street, between Fifth and Madison avenues, were purchased for $30,000. A few months later they were resold with building loans for $90,000. It was at this period that John H. Deane entered the field. He was particularly active in lower Harlem, from 110th to 115th street. His practice, similar to that of many others, was to buy lots and resell at a heavy advance with a building loan. Dozens of speculative builders were thus induced to begin operations, and under this artificial stimulus prices advanced so quickly that for a time builders were able to borrow from the unwary sums large enough to give them a substantial profit upon their transactions. Among this flimsy speculative class those of bad eminence w r ere Q. W. Hawkes, John Schappert, the infamous Buddensiek, W. H. and R. E. Johnson. So long as there was a rising market and the value of lots could be pushed up a thousand or more dollars a year, and excessive loans were obtainable, all went well. Street after street was built up in a monotony of brownstone. Indeed, in the early days of the period we are now considering the great East Side was created. The movement continued for four years, until 1884, by which time further expansion was impossible. Prices had become stationary and a measure of collapse was then inevitable. In the latter year Deane failed with hundreds of houses, finished and unfinished, on his hands — houses which he had been forced to take from his operators. The auction sale of his holdings was one of the memorable events in real estate history. Hawkes also went under. Wm. H. De Forrest, a silk importer, who backed Mowbray & Lynd Bros., was another famous operator in this movement who subsequently, as we shall see, played an important part in the opening up of Hamilton Grange. Willett Bronson also deserves to be mentioned. The field of his activity was 61st, 62d, 63d streets, between Madison and Fourth avenues. He began work in 1877, and with Ira E. Doying as his builder, erected hundred of houses before, like the others already mentioned, he failed.
It must not be understood, of course, that all the activity on the East Side, the first result of better times, was purely speculative. On the contrary, a great deal of solid work was done, particularly in the more fashionable district immediately north of 59th street. Here such builders as Dugging & Crossman, and their successor, Charles Buek & Co., C. W. Luyster, O'Reilly Brothers, Terence Farley, Breen, Nason & Hughes and others carried on substantial operations which even to this day stamp a solid, if sombre, char- acter upon the better streets on the East Side. Besides, it was during the early years of this period that society firmly intrenched itself in the upper part of Fifth avenue and Madison avenue, adjacent to 59th street. In August, 1879, Wm. H. Vanderbilt purchased the property between 51st and 52d streets at a cost of $700,000. Indeed, Mr. W. H. Vanderbilt and his family purchased about thirty lots on and contiguous to Fifth avenue at that time. His action was followed by a number of similar investments made by his friends and others. Mr. Vanderbilt also bought for $50,000, 75x100.5, on the northeast corner of Madison avenue and 52d street. David Dows commenced building a house which cost $125,000 on the northeast corner of Fifth avenue and 69th street. George W. Quintard bought the northeast corner of 73d street and Fifth avenue, 100x125, for $165,000. Henry Havemeyer secured the northeast corner of Fifth avenue and 67th street, 50x100. A plot of four lots on the northwest corner of 54th street and Fifth avenue was sold to Hollis L. Powers for $200,000. Two lots on Fifth avenue between 56th and 57th streets, were sold by George Bliss, of Bliss, Morton & Co., for $70,000, Mr. Bliss having paid $43,000 for these lots a few months previous, buying them from E. W. Strughton, U. S. Minister at St. Petersburg. D. O. Mills at this time purchased a mansion on Fifth avenue, opposite the Cathedral. No. 693 Fifth avenue was purchased by Frederick Vanderbilt for $125,000, and Henry M. Flagner took title to a house which Griffith Rowe had built on the corner of 54th street and Fifth avenue. Early in 1880 the Stuart Block on 69th street, between Madison and Fifth avenues,was broken up by the sale of nine lots to Mr. J. D. Crimmins, who paid $27,500 for each of the lots. They are situated on the south side of the street, and it is interesting to note that it was in 1864 that the Stuart brothers bought this property from Mr. James Lenox, paying for the same $220,000.
In short, the years following 1880 were particularly busy ones on the East Side. Trading was active in all classes of property. Prices advanced, and there was scarcely a block, excepting some on Fifth and Madison avenues, upon which building operations were not under way. At an early date in this period all lots, as far north as 85th street, between Fifth avenue and Madison avenue, passed beyond the reach of the speculative builder and into the hands of the richer classes. Thus before the year 1884, when Deane and operators like him came to grief, the whole East Side was thoroughly defined and prices were so firmly fixed that speculation, in the ordinary sense of the word, had become impossible.
The work that has been done since 1884 in this great section of the city has been a work of development upon lines already established. It cannot be said that operations subsequent to that date have materially changed the character of any of the streets or avenues from that stamped upon them by the building activity which we have considered in the foregoing. There was, indeed, for a time a hesitancy on the part of the wealthier classes to occupy Fifth avenue facing the park, north of 59th street, but within the last six years the step northward has been positively taken, and the erection of such residences as those of W. V. Brokaw, F. C. Martin, Mrs. Josephine Schmid, E. T. Gerry, C. T. Yerkes, Mrs. N. E. Baylies, Isaac Stern and fashionable clubs like the Metropolitan has determined the character of the avenue and the streets adjacent thereto wherever any doubt existed.
We have now to turn our attention to the other side of the island. While the developments just described were in progress on the East Side the first steps towards opening up the great West Side were making. We have already seen that some time prior to 1879 the better class of capitalists, merchants and others were beginning to regard with great favor the long undeveloped stretch of territory between Central Park and the Hudson River. It was evident to all that due to some cause or other fortune had been particularly unkind to this section, which possessed so many natural advantages to a far higher degree than any other portion of the island. Despite, however, the tardiness of development on the West Side, as soon as public attention was given to the great tide of population that in 1879 began to pour into the East Side, the conclusion was irresistible that before long a part of it at least would be diverted to the western district. It is indeed one of the anomalies of the history of New York real estate that the West Side was so utterly neglected, save by the speculator, for so long. In the earlier years with which our history deals a serious obstacle to the actual occupation of the West Side existed in the then deficient transit facilities, but between 1870 and 1880 that district was quite as well served in that respect as was the opposite side of the city. Moreover, the elevated roads reached 59th street and Ninth avenue at even an earlier date than 59th street at Third avenue, though as an offset to this advantage was the fact that the Third avenue road was extended above 59th street prior to the similar extension of the Ninth avenue road. Undoubtedly this priority counted for a great deal. However, from the very earliest days, the growth of the city along the eastern side of the island has been an easier movement than along the western border. It was so in Colonial and post-revolutionary days. And we have seen that in 1868 much building had already been done along Second and Third avenues and in many of the cross streets, while there was scarcely a modern house to be found along the West Side. This, though, was largely due to the earlier development of the horse-car on the East Side than on the West. But, in addition to the horse-car, continuity was undoubtedly a factor of great importance in determining the line of building operations. When Murray Hill, lower Fifth avenue, and the parallel avenues had been built up, it was easier for the house builder to continue his work directly northward above 59th street than to turn off and proceed along the other side of the island, particularly as the buildings on the West Side, immediately south of 59th street, were of a decidedly poor class. The railroad along the Hudson, too, was an obstacle. More-over — perhaps this circumstance has more weight than any other — from the very beginning the West Side was a victim of its magnificent prospects. It was settled at an early day in people's minds that that district was destined to be the choicest residential section of New York City. It was conformable to this idea that the great public improvements, boulevards, parks and drives were planned for in the Sixties. Now, it is a curious but nevertheless a very apparent fact that "magnificent prospects" have always been a bar to the solid development of real estate. When the future seems to promise so much owners at once attempt to seize upon wealth that exists only in anticipation of actual improvements. Prices are then advanced so greatly that the builder, the investor and even the speculator, the men who are to give reality to the imaginary values, are practically shut out. Then, while owners are waiting to realize their big anticipations, taxes and other charges pile up to such an extent that at last their bridges are burnt behind them; they cannot retreat, but are obliged to hold on to their property for high prices to avoid great loss. In 1879 ( as previously in 1868) when real estate began to recover from the effects of the panic, property owners on the West Side hastened to anticipate the coming of the builder. They endeavored to secure for themselves the very profits which the work of the builder was necessary to create. Therefore, when the revival of operations commenced, it found the plane of values on the whole much lower on the East Side than on the West Side, and this, in conjunction with the other facts we have set forth, directed the tide of operations away from the Hudsen. But a year or two of work, aided by speculation, speedily enhanced the value of the East Side realty and by 1880 prices were relatively higher there than on the West Side. Joined to this, the beneficial effect of the elevated roads began to be felt powerfully. By the close of the year 1879 that system of transportation was in operation to 155th street and Eighth avenue, and in the fall of that year people in large numbers commenced to enjoy on Sundays the rural felicities of the West Side much as they do to-day those of the 23d and 24th Wards. The great "West Side movement" may be said to have commenced in that year. At first, and indeed until the boom on the East Side was played out, the new activity was one of anticipation. The West Side was still very backward with its public improvements. The great avenues were in very poor condition, mostly unpaved, merely soft roads, pleasant enough for fast driving in fine weather, but dusty as an Illinois country road, and during rain almost impassable for pedestrians. Riverside Drive had just been delivered in a crude condition from the hands of the contractors and the authorities were beginning to make niggardly expenditures upon Morningside Park. Parts of 59th, 60th, 61st, 62d, 65th, 66th, the whole of 74th, parts of 81st, 88th, 89th, 91st, 97th, 98th, the whole of I02d and 107th, parts of 108th, 109th, the whole of 1 nth and 112th, parts of 116th, the whole of 117th, 118th, 119th, 120th, 121st, 122d, and parts of 123d, 124th, 125th, and 126th streets — in all there were thirty- four streets between 59th and 134th streets a portion or the whole of which were not yet legally opened. As to the remainder of the streets, few of them were graded, paved or flagged, and the water and gas supply were of course existent only in the rudiments.
Second only to the advent of the elevated roads as a factor in attracting public attention to the West Side were the large improvements in and adjacent to 72d and 73d streets, Eighth and Ninth avenues, made in 1879 by the late Edward Clark, President of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. Two years before, on December 31, 1877, August Belmont and Caroline, his wife, transferred to Mr. Clark for $280,000 the block front on Eighth avenue, West Side, extending from ?2d to 73d street, 2044 feet, and extending 375 feet on each street. At the time this large transfer was announced, in 1877, it received some attention, just as the previous purchases in 1875-77 of the same property by Mr. Belmont had received attention. But those years were dull times for real estate, and, as we have said in discussing the period of depression that followed 1873, the multitude took small part in what real estate trans-actions were then carried through. Mr. Clark's purchase lay fallow for two years. Then came the announcement that he had determined to improve it, not only by the erection of a number of private dwellings of a high class, but it was whispered (then or soon after) by the construction — so the story went — of a large hotel. There were other sagacious operators who undertook to build about the same time. In June, 1879, J onn D. Crimmins filed plans for flats on Ninth avenue and 63d street, and in the same month H. H. Cammann began the erection of similar buildings on Tenth avenue and 82d street. But neither of these examples were attended by the publicity which was given to Mr. Clark's enterprise. They were not so extensive in the first place, and besides the President of the Singer Company was already well known as a shrewd, bold operator by many large building operations which he had carried through south of 59th street. Early in 1880 Mr. Clark's row of dwellings, from designs by H. J. Hardenberg, was put on the market for rental, and late in that year the plans were filed for the long-heralded apartment house (hotel, it proved not to be) — the Dakota — the cost of which was estimated at $1,000,000.
There was no doubt then in the people's minds that the day of actual work on the West Side had dawned. A start on so imposing a scale could not but be impressive. It occasioned an immense amount of talk, but, it must be recorded, very little that was more solid than talk, for many months. The fact is, the speculative builder was not ready for the West Side, and without his activity private individuals might undertake a few colossal enterprises, but the actual work of converting acres into improved city lots could not be done. In 1880 the speculative builder was busy on the East Side, at Yorkville and in Harlem. He was, moreover, building and selling there with a considerable measure of success, and was shrewd enough or dull enough to stick to the field that paid without desiring to experiment on virgin soil. Mr. Clark's enterprise, therefore, bore small fruit at first. In August, 1880, James R. Kingston started some dwellings on 64th street, east of 10th avenue (to stick to the old street nomenclature in vogue at the time), and Daniel Herbert began the erection of residences on 73d street, east of Ninth avenue. Mr. Cammann, too, filed plans for a new lot of tenements on Tenth avenue, north of 82d street. The movement was indeed begun, but it gathered headway slowly. However, though little building was undertaken, there was decided activity in lot transactions. There was a market for West Side property such as has not been seen since 1873 and prices advanced.*
*For instance: 72d street, north side, and 73d street, south side, 475 west 8th avenue, 25x102.2, which sold in 1874 for $23,000 with mortgage of $3,000, in 1876 for $7,000 with $5,000 mortgage, in 1878 for $7,000 (same mortgage), sold in 1879 to John D. Crimmins for $10,000' (same mortgage), and in 1881 to Chas. F. Hoffman for $23,000 (same mortgage).
72d street, north side, and 73d street, south side, 500 west of 8th avenue, 25x102.2, sold in 1878 for $11,385, on December 13, 1880, for $19,500, and in January, 1881, for $22,000.
Riverside avenue, east side, extending from 79th to 80th street (207.1%) and extending 69.8% on 79th street, 35.8% on 80th street, was sold January,
1879, to Samuel V. Hoffman for $12,000; in June, 1879, it was transferred for $25,000; in November of the same year again for $25,000; then in quick succession to Wm. H. Scott and Simon Sterne for $35,000, and to James Scobie (February, 1880), for $39,500.
In May, 1879, James E. Mallory purchased some property on 9th avenue, west side, 25.10 south 84th street, for $7,000, which he sold on March 10,
1880, to John B. Conley for $10,500.
83d street, south side, 225 west 8th avenue, 50x102.2, was acquired by Wm. H. Scott in May, 1879, for $10,000, sold in 1880 to E. H. Nichols for $19,250, and in 1882 to William Tilden for $26,000.
Wm. H. Hewlett in 1877 paid $2,000 for 10th avenue, east side, 102.2 north of 84th street, 51x100, and sold the same for $5,000 in April, 1881.
On December 6, 1877, Edward Kilpatrick sold to Wm. H. Scott for $13,000 85th street, south side, and 84th street, north side, 350 east 9th avenue, 50x102.2, who in 3880 resold to Thos. N. Fowler for $20,000.
In 1881 Edward Clark paid $36,650 for four lots on south side 85th street, 100 west 8th avenue, which were purchased by the seller in 1876 for $17,750.
A lot on 90th street, north side, 400 west 8th avenue, that sold in 1878 for $3,500 was sold in 1881 for $4,250.
9th avenue and 90th street, northeast corner, 100.8M>xl00, was bought by John H. Tingue February, 1880, for $11,200, and sold a year later to David B. Alger for $14,000.
Certain property on the Boulevard, east side, south of 95th street, which sold in 1878 for $3,700, was purchased by Alonzo R. Hamilton in 1880 for $8,000.
101st street, north side, 174.4 west 9th avenue, 19x100.11 (with building), sold in 1878 for $2,350, and in May, 1880, for $3,500.
9th avenue, east side, 25.3 north 105th street, 25.8x100, was acquired by the Mutual Life Insurance Co. in 1878 for $1,000. The Company sold it in 1880 for $3,000, and in 18S1 it was resold to Patrick Connelly for $1, subject to a mortgage of $5,500.
100th street, north side, 175 east 9th avenue, 25x100.11, and 101st street, south side, 150 east 9th avenue, 50x100.11, was purchased by Simon Sterne January 16, 1880, for $7,500 (mortgage $1,781). who on March 23d of the same year resold to Benjamin F. Romaine for $9,600 (same mortgage).
109th street, north side, 250 east 10th avenue, 50x half block, and 110th street, south side, 250 east 10th avenue, 50x half block, was sold in 1879 for $8,175 by Max Oppenheimer, and in 1880 was resold by the purchaser, Samuel A. Lewis, for $15,500.
The foregoing instances, taken quite at random from the records of the period, are sufficient to indicate the general advance in prices of West Side property that was in progress in 1879-80 — an upward movement, by the way, which continued with marked results for ten years. It must not be for-great obscurity as to the future the builder was naturally enveloped. The Clark houses constituted another fixed point, and up in West Harlem something had already been done in spots to determine local character. The rest was a wilderness of confusing possibilities, and it is curious to notice how far many of the early anticipations were from the reality. Riverside Drive and Central Park West would, it was thought, be seized upon first of all the avenues on the West Side by the wealthy as the sites of mansions that would splendidly eclipse anything and everything on Fifth avenue. Tenth or Amsterdam avenue was preferred to Ninth or Columbus avenue. The Boulevard was to be the seat of lordly pleasure houses, and Eleventh, or West End avenue, to which small thought was given, was consigned by many to be the location of household stores. The future of property on Morningside Hill was regarded as very promising. Much of its was owned by the Leake and Watts Asylum and by the Society of the New York Hospital. The former owned three blocks between Morningside avenue, Tenth avenue, 110th and 113th streets. The Hospital Society owned the entire tract with the exception of a few lots between 112th, 120th streets, Tenth avenue and the Broadway Boulevard, together with a large piece west of the Boulevard, north of 116th street, leaving only a gotten, however, that the prices we have given for 1879-80 were still far below those that ruled in 1871-1872, as the following table shows:
Despite advancing prices and notable building enterprises such as Mr. Clark's, the great speculative era for the West Side did not begin in earnest until 1885. Even up to as late as 1883 a total of less than $8,000,000 had been invested in improvements. Nevertheless, one by one, builders and others whose names are now well known to everybody ventured from time to time upon what was in greater part experimental work. The future of the West Side of course was quite a blank, and in the long stretch of territory from 59th street to the Harlem there were few fixed points to guide the investor in determining the nature of the buildings it would be most profitable to put up. At 59th street the undeveloped West Side came into touch with a rather inferior class of structures, so that one could guess fairly well what was likely to be the line of operations for some few blocks northward. Eighth avenue or Central Park West and Riverside Drive were consecrated in the imagination of property owners to the uses of millionaires, and from the first the price demanded for lots on those thoroughfares was practically prohibitory so far as the speculative builder was concerned. Elsewhere the elevated road stations at 72nd, 81st and 93d streets attracted the builder like magnetic points, although the early operators were even there groping in the dark. No one could feel sure as to whether he was working in what would be a tenement district or a region of first, or second, or third-class residences. Indeed, in 1881 plans were filed for tenements to be erected on the north side of 72nd street, 100 feet west of Ninth avenue. They were never built, fortunately, but the circumstance shows in what great obscurity as to the future the builder was naturally enveloped. The Clark houses constituted another fixed point, and up in West Harlem something had already been done in spots to determine local character. The rest was a wilderness of confusing possibilities, and it is curious to notice how far many of the early anticipations were from the reality. Riverside Drive and Central Park West would, it was thought, be seized upon first of all the avenues on the West Side by the wealthy as the sites of mansions that would splendidly eclipse anything and everything on Fifth avenue. Tenth or Amsterdam avenue was preferred to Ninth or Columbus avenue. The Boulevard was to be the seat of lordly pleasure houses, and Eleventh, or West End avenue, to which small thought was given, was consigned by many to be the location of household stores. The future of property on Morningside Hill was regarded as very promising. Much of its was owned by the Leake and Watts Asylum and by the Society of the New York Hospital. The former owned three blocks between Morningside avenue, Tenth avenue, 110th and 113th streets. The Hospital Society owned the entire tract with the exception of a few lots between 112th, 120th streets, Tenth avenue and the Broadway Boulevard, together with a large piece west of the Boulevard, north of 116th street, leaving only a comparatively small number of lots for private owners. For the strip on Morningside avenue, from 113th street to I22d street, averaging about 500 feet in width and on the front along the avenue, exclusive of the Leake and Watts asylum, there were only about ten owners in all. They were: Emanuel Garcia, Frederick de Peyster, General Jas. Watts de Peyster, James J. Goodwin, Joseph W. Drexel, Dwight H. Olmstead, The Central National Bank, Tracy, Olmstead & Treacy, Mary G. Pinckney and James Rufus Smith. Among the large owners of inside or street lots were Butler H. Bixby, Roscoe Conkling and Dr. B. W. McCready.
John Jacob Astor expressed it as his opinion in 1879 that building would start from 72d street and move from that point southward and crowd out the shanties ; whereas others suggested that the city was destined to grow up the Fifth avenue side of the town and then swing across 110th street to Morningside Hill. Neither view, as we know, was entirely correct. Seventy-second street was the starting point of one set of operations, which moved in all directions from that centre, but chiefly northward. Similar centres were also established at the elevated stations at 81 st and 93d and 104th streets — points, by the way, which mark the several high elevations of land on the West Side. As to the "swing-across-town" theory, it was correct in principle, but the cross movement was not made at 110th street but at 125th street. It is needless to point out the determining influence in all this exerted by the elevated roads. To sum up: The earliest development of the West Side tended northward from 72d street, and north and south of 125th street, the greatest activity at first being in the upper locality.
It was perhaps as early as 1880 that what may be termed the overflow from the East Side began to trickle into the northern part of the West Side. Rents in Harlem proper in that year were advancing rapidly and the beneficial influence of the Third avenue elevated road was stimulating building at the northern end of the island, along 125th street and other adjacent cross streets. A demand for upper West Side lots arose and prices began to move upward. In 1879 August Belmont sold the block, St. Nicholas and Seventh avenue, 11,2th and 113th streets, for $150,000. The plot 100x100.11 on 125th street, south side, 150 feet west of Eighth avenue, including 100x100.11 on 124th street, north side, 150 feet west of Eighth avenue, which sold for $10,000 in 1878, brought $21,000 the next year, while the plot 100.11x125 on 125th street, southwest corner of Tenth avenue, sold at $6,500 in 1879, $1 1,000 in 1880 and $16,000 in 1882. Considerable purchases on and around 125th street toward the west side of the island were madein 1879 by William Jennings Demorest, Simon Sterne, Edward J. McGean, John D. Phillips, John H. Deane, David J. Seligman, Theodore W. Myers, Samuel L. Parish, Edward A. Jackson, John B. Hillyer, Edward J. King, John M. Pinkney, Richard H. L. Townsend, Frank Tilford, Wm. H. Scott, Wm. R. Martin, John H. Hankinson, Smith Ely, Jr., Wm. D. Whiting.
In 1881 the builder was quite active in the upper West Side. Among the early pioneers were A. A. Teetz, S. O. Wright, R. M. Strebeigh, Kehoe, Hubner, Broas, Moore, Codling & Son, Browning, E. S. Higgins, I. E. Wright, J. Van Dolsen, Cunningham, Thurston, T. Wilson, J. W. Stevens, Lynch, Harlow, Mulrein, Hutchinson. The field of operations was chiefly between Seventh and Eighth avenue, 126th and 133d streets. Eighteen hundred and eighty-one was an active year in real estate in all parts of the city. Prices were advancing. Indeed, since 1877 there had been a steady increase in the number of transactions as well as in the amount of money invested. General business was good. The prices of labor and material were advancing and there was a good demand for both. The East Side reaped the larger part of this harvest, but 125th street was a fertile tract, along which some of the seed was scattered into the West Side. The lower part of the West Side received less benefit. The Clark operations, at 72d and 73d streets, were still the chief ones, but in 1881 George J. Hamilton began to build on 73d street, near the Clark houses, and at the close of the year there were eighteen rows of buildings in course of erection in the district south of 125th street. Plans were filed for 139 buildings calling for an expenditure of $2,035,400.
The building done in 1882 did not vary much, either in extent or character, from that accomplished in 1881. At the same time the activity was somewhat more marked, and many builders hitherto at work in other parts of the city began operations on the West Side. Thus John W. Stevens built a small row of dwellings in 87th street; John G. Prague filed plans for some tenements in 61 st street and Ninth avenue; Francis Crawford started in with some dwellings on 71st street, and Michael Brennan built a small experimental row on 69th street. George W. Hamilton, also, was encouraged by his father's operations on 73d to follow Mr. Crawford's example on 71st street. In April of that year David Christie commenced work on Tenth avenue and 96th street, and James O'Friel on Ninth avenue and 78th street. John Maloy thought money was to be made by building on Ninth avenue and 61 st street, while Edward Morrison was imbued with the same idea regarding a location two miles further north on 100th street, west of Ninth avenue. Furthermore, those who had come to the district previously were there to stay. John D. Crimmins and Edward Clark commenced the erection of new rows, the former at 92d street and Ninth avenue, the latter still on 73d street. Geo. Hamilton returned to 73d street later in the year, this time west of Ninth avenue. While these enterprises were fairly well distributed the centre of activity wa's in the immediate vicinity of 72d street, although on that street itself nothing had been done as yet. Altogether there were plans filed for 177 buildings in the district, their estimated cost amounting to $3,159,- 100, against 954 buildings costing $14,990,375, for the section east of Central Park.
Respectable colonies had been formed in the neighborhood of the 72d, 81 st, 93d, 104th and 125th street elevated railroad stations, representing an investment of between seven and eight millions of capital. No plans had been filed for buildings on West End avenue, and Tenth avenue was apparently more popular than Ninth avenue, which was only in the process of being paved. Someone suggested, under the illusion that the latter avenue was to be covered with dwellings, that it would be a good idea to situate the houses as far back from the building line as would be consistent with the depth of the lot, and plant a row of trees in front to prevent the occupants from being annoyed by intrusive cinders from the elevated engines. This ingenious method of defense did not, however, commend itself to builders. The year 1883 saw a continuance of the progress made the year before, without, however, any notable acceleration of pace. Fred. Kruse began building on Tenth avenue, Samuel Colcord on 79th street, Casper M. Lawson on 100th street, Christian Kruse on 83d street, A. Alonzo Teets on 122nd street, John Richards and James Phelps on 61st street, George Huhn on 67th street, Benj. Wallace on 100th street, S. H. Mapes on 10th avenue, R. Townsend on 100th street, Hugh Blesson on 76th street, and Richard Deeves on 83d street. Other names which may be mentioned are: E. M. Wadsworth, J. W. Guntzer and Richard Chaffy. At the same time many builders who had entered the district in previous years continued their operations with unabated confidence and apparently with unvarying success. Throughout the year plans were filed for 183 buildings, to cost $3,398,075. Building on the East Side, however, still continued to be far more important in respect to the extent of operations than that on the West Side.
Several large auction sales, joined to the greater facilities for access furnished by the elevated roads, served to advertise the West Side immensely. At the Carman sale, on March 25, 1880, 257 lots, between 148th street and Highbridge Park, were disposed of for $181,609. As the buyers refused to take title, owing to legal difficulties, a resale of the property was held in April, 1881. The first of the two famous Jumel sales was held May, 1882, and the second in November, 1,058 lots north of 159th street being knocked down for a total of $544,830. Another important sale was that by the Mutual Life Insurance Company of improved property and 22J vacant lots, mostly on the West Side, in 70th, 80th and 90th streets, and northward to 158th street.* (*For particulars of these and other noted auction sales, see Appendix.) The dispersion of property formerly held by a few individuals into the possession of many was an advantageous circumstance, and one that favored the promotion of building operations. But the ball moved slowly. As we have said, the speculative builder was not ready for the West Side, and the work of opening up the new territory for the habitation of the multitude could not be accomplished without him. Eighteen hundred and eighty-three was not a very good year for general business, and real estate slightly felt the mild depression. A considerable amount of buying and building was done in the upper part of the West Side, and in the lower part new accessions from the ranks of the solider builders on the East Side were made. George W. Hamilton, who contributed so much to the early development of the West Side, was busy in the vicinity of 72d street and 9th avenue; Samuel Colcord filed plans for houses on 79th street. The building up of 72d street was commenced in earnest. Cornelius W. Luyster, in connection with James R. Smith, had plans prepared by D. & J. Jardine for ten four-story brownstone dwellings, to be erected on the north side of 72d street, 100 feet east of 10th avenue; on the south side of the same street, 300 feet west of 9th avenue, Francis Crawford prepared to build by acquiring four lots with building loan at a cost of $58,000. B. C. Wetmore filed plans for another lot of dwellings on 72d street, between 9th and 10th avenues. Edward Hatch announced that he would erect eight tenements on the north side of 61st street, between 10th and nth avenues; E. Purcell had similar plans, but for only four buildings, on the south side of 60th street, 200 feet west of 10th avenue. Michael Brennan was associated with Mr. Purcell. In the same year John M. Ruck filed plans for a flat to be built on 9th avenue, at the northwest corner of 71st street. I. M. Grenell undertook three dwellings on the north side of 87th street, west of 9th avenue; Christian Blinn filed plans for six dwellings on 78th street, west of 9th avenue. S. H. Mapes determined to build tenements on the west side of 10th avenue, 125 feet north of 74th street. Terence Farley purchased five lots on the southwest corner of 9th avenue and 73d street and other adjacent property, and Richard Deeves had plans made for dwellings on the north side of 82d street, 175 feet east of 9th avenue.
Most of the foregoing names the reader will recognize as those of operators who have played very important parts in the development of the West Side. The greater part of the new work was in the neighborhood of 726. street and along or between 9th and 10th avenues, and small in amount as the new work was in these early years it was of unusual importance because these initial operations did so much to determine the character of the cross streets and longitudinal avenues. Eighteen hundred and eighty-two and 1883 were the years when the outposts of the coming army of builders were established and it is noteworthy that so many of these first operators should be the very men who subsequently were the most active in developing the West Side. Over one hundred buildings were projected or commenced in 1883. Of apartment houses thirteen were under way in May, costing $209,000. North of 69th street and south of 110th there were seventy-seven dwellings under way, costing $1,192,500.
As to the upper West Side, the distribution of the Carman and Jumel estates had an excellent effect. The northwest side of the island seemed the most unpromising of any section south of the Harlem River. It was the most remote from the business quarter, and not accessible by the ordinary routes of travel. But the distribution of the Carman and Jumel estates had a very wholesome effect. The purchasers who were attracted by the low price of the lots were not willing to pay taxes and assessments for ten or fifteen years without some return from the property, and hence commenced to build. A sale of lots in the spring of 1883 above 140th street and 8th avenue told the story of the increased favor in which this part of the city was held. There was a surprisingly large advance in the price of lots as compared with the sales made when the Carman and Jumel estates were auctioned off. During the first half of 1883 102 buildings, aggregating $386,650, were projected west of 8th avenue and north of 140th street. The proposed improvement of the Harlem River doubtless encouraged building in this district, but the unexpectedly large number of plans filed during the six months in question was primarily due to the fear entertained by property-holders that the Legislature, then in session,
would extend the fire limits over the whole of the island. Accordingly, with few exceptions, the plans filed were for frame buildings, many of which were projected merely for the purpose of temporarily paying taxes, assessments and interest.
The following table shows the buildings projected on the West Side in the spring of 1883:page 101 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
Boulevard, ws , 60 n 60th st, 4-sty and basement brk and brownstone apartment house, J. H. Gautier, cost, $40,000; Boulevard, e s, 79.4 n 74th st, 3-sty brk club-house and store, John D. Crimmins, $8,000; Boulevard, n e cor 83d st, two 5-sty brk and stone stores and tenem'ts, Christian Cruse, total cost, $30,000; 59th st, Nos. 303, 305 and 307 W., 4-sty brk stable, owner, O. L. Jones; 60th st, No. 215 W., 5-sty brownstone dwell'g, Thos. Cowman, $15,000; 60th st, No. 217 W., 5-sty brk apartment house, Julia Mullaly, $20,000; 60th st, s s, 200 w 10th av, 5-sty brownstone tenem't, Edward Purcell; 60th st, s s, 219 w 10th av, three 5-sty brownstone tenements, same as last; 60th st, Nos. 285 and 287, w 11th av, two 4-sty brk and brownstone stores and tenem'ts, Mrs. M. J. Largau, each $9,000; 61st st, n s, 200 e 10th av, 5-sty brownstone tenem't, $24,000; 61st st, s s, 100 w 10th av, 5-sty brk tenem't, Claus Ahrenz, $12,000; 61st st, s s, 125 w 10th av, five 5-sty brownstone tenem'ts, John Richards, each $23,000; 61st st, s s, 350 w 10th av, two 5-sty brownstone tenem'ts, James Phelp, each $18,000; 61st st, No. 532 W., 5-sty brk tenem'ts, Patrick O'Reilley, $14,000; 62d st, s s, 75 w Boulevard, 2-sty brk office stalls and dwell'g, Jacob Stockinger, $1,500; 67th st, No. 120 W., 1-sty brk stable, Wm. Skelly, $1,500; 67th st, 150 w 10th av, two 5-sty brownstone tenem'ts, P. Netter, each $16,000; 67th st, n s, w 11th av, eight 4-sty brk tenem'ts, George Kuhn, each $10,000; 69th st, s s, 100 w 11th av, and 69th st, n s, 200 w 10th av, twelve 5-sty brk tenem'ts, E. A. Davis, each $18,000; 11th av, n w cor 68th st, one 1-sty brk store and dwell'g, Michael Flick, $1,500; 69th st, n s, 125 w 10th av, 2-sty brk dwell'g, Harriet I. Potter, $6,000; 71st st, s s, 80 w 9th av, five 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, George W. Hamilton, total cost $100,000; 72d st, s s, 100 e 10th av, five 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, Geo. J. Hamilton, total cost $130,000; 72d st, n s, 300 e 10th av, three 4-sty brownstone dwellings, Margaret Crawford, each $20,000; 72d st, s s, 400 e 10th av, five 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, Margaret Crawford, each $25,000; 72d st, n s, 100 e 10th av, ten 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, James R. Smith and C. W. Luyster, average, each $25,000; 73d st, s s, 275 w 9th av, 3-sty and basement brk and brownstone dwell'g, Roberta W. Marsh; 73d st, s s, 300 w 9th av, three 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, Anna McDonald, average, each $18,000; 73d st, n e cor 10th av, one 4-sty brk flat, Jonathan Allen and ano., $22,000;
73d st, n s, 28 e 10th av, four 4-sty brk and brownstone dwell'gs, J. Allen and ano., each $15,000; 78th st, n s, 150 w 9th av, six 3-sty stone front dwell'gs, Christian Blinn, each $8,000 or $9,000; 78th st, n s, 30 w Broad- way, three 1-sty brk and glass greenhouses, David Clark, total cost $1,200; 79th st, s s, 350 w 9th av, five 3 and 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, Samuel Colcord, about, each $10,000; 82d st, n s, 225 e 9th av, six 4-sty brk dwellings, Mrs. Mary M. Williams, each $11,250; 83d st, s s, 225 e 9th av, six 4-sty brk tenem'ts, same as last, each $11,250; 85th st, s s, 300 e 10th av, 2-sty and cellar brk dwell'g, John Campbell, $2,500; 86th st, n s, 90 w 10th av, 2-sty brk and stone chapel, Eighty-fourth Street Presbyterian Church, $20,000; 87th st, n s, 175 w 9th av, three 3-sty brownstone dwell'gs, I. M. Grenell, each $9,000; 100th st, n s, 300 w 9th av, four 5-sty brownstone apartment houses, Casper N. Lawson, each $9,000; 104th st, s s, 250 w 9th av, 2-sty brk dwell'g, Mrs. C. A. Brown, $5,500; 106th st, s s, 100 e 9th av, two 4-sty brk and brownstone apartment houses, Mrs. M. C. Jackman, each $15,000; 107th st, s s, 175 w 9th av, 2-sty brk shop, Julius Bush, $1,500; 8th av, n w cor 86th st, frame grand stand, Manhattan Athletic Club, $3,000; 9th av, n w cor 71st st, 4-sty brownstone store and flat, John M. Ruck, $20,000; 9th av, w s, 69.2 n 71st st, two 4-sty brownstone dwell'gs, same as last, each $10,000; 71st st, n s, 20 w 9th av, five 3-sty brownstone dwell'gs, same as last, each $12,000; 9th av, e s, 25.2 n 100th st, 1-sty dwell'g, Anna Harms, $2,000; 9th av, n w cor 100th st, four 5-sty frk and stone-trimmed tenem'ts. Benjamin Wallace, each $9,000; 10th av, w s, 75 n 74th st, 5-sty brownstone flat, S. H. Mapes, $23,000.
During the year 1883 plans were filed for 183 buildings, to cost $3,398,075, between 59th and 125th streets, west of 8th avenue. In the same period 849 buildings, to cost $13,754,047, were filed for the East Side — a comparison which shows more clearly than any description where the real seat of operations was at that time. In the following year, 1884, however, the West Side movement began to assume large proportions. The activity on the East Side was declining. Land there had become relatively dear and speculation was beginning to reach the end of its resources. As we have seen, the failure of Deane, Hawkes et al., was not for off. In 1884 335 buildings, to cost $6,675,490, were planned for on the West Side. People began to make the discovery that class for class houses were cheaper on the West Side than on the East Side, and this assisted in sending buyers into the new territory which the builder was beginning to invade. In this year John D. Crimmins had plans made for houses on 68th street, between 9th and 10th avenues; so did Edward J. King, on 71st street; Ralph F. Townsend, on West End avenue, west side, south of I02d street; David H. Knapp, 10th avenue, southeast corner 105th street; William Noble, 83d street, south side, east of 9th avenue, and Daniel Herbert, 81st street, north side, 200 feet east of 10th avenue ; Henry Bornkamp, 9th avenue, east and west sides, between 95th and 96th streets. Joseph F. Navarro, who, despite his large operations on 59th street, and on the East Side, had made considerable investments in recent years in West Side property, filed plans for (but did not erect) four twelve-story flats on 8th avenue,
west side, between 81 st and 82d streets, the site upon which the Hotel Beresford now stands. Geo. C. Edgar undertook to build on the north side of 70th street, 100 feet west of 9th avenue; Samuel Colcord on the north side of 79th street, west of 9th avenue; Charles L. Guilleaume on the north side of 87th street, 325 feet west of 9th avenue.
The building movement continued to be especially marked in the neighborhood of the elevated road stations. It was encroaching upon the vacant ground up to 74th street, and a good part of the ground around 81st street; 71st to 73d street was largely built over, and this was also the case with 826. and 83d streets. On the latter twenty-one private residences were to be erected, or in process of erection. Seven of these were built by William Noble, three by D. & J. Jardine, the architects, and two by Thomas Cochrane. The first stories of Architect George W. Da Cunha's three houses were making their appearance above ground while the six residences erected by Richard Deeves were rapidly approaching completion. The same owner was building three similar houses on S26. street. Further west, between 9th and 10th avenues, and on the same streets, the vacant ground for building purposes was decreasing month by month. Going north, the building activity was running beyond the 104th street "L" station. A number of houses were going up on 9th avenue, 96th, 97th and 98th streets, near 9th avenue, and it was declared that in a few years lots in this direction would become as valuable as in the neighborhood of the 72d and 81 st street elevated road stations.
In the beginning of the year 1885 the prospect ahead for real estate was not the brightest. There had been trouble in Wall street during the previous year, there were bad times in Europe, and the unusually hot political contest between Blaine and Cleveland had, or was supposed to have had, an unsettling effect upon the country. Builders, moreover, had been hampered by a number of petty strikes with their employes. The failures on the East Side and the practical failures of many big apartment houses to return sufficient interest on the money invested had contributed to create something of an adverse opinion as to the profitableness of real estate. However, before 1885 closed these clouds had quite blown over, and in the new revival the West Side emerged as the recognized speculative area of the city. The operators already at work in that district undertook new and larger enterprises and they were joined by nearly all the larger builders in the city. J. G. Prague filed plans for dwellings on 73d street; Lamb & Rich for twelve dwellings on the southwest corner of 75th street and West End avenue; Gillie, Walker & Lawson for tenements on 62A street, west of 9th avenue; E. S. Auchmuty for one apartment house on the southwest corner of 9th avenue and 93d street; Samuel Colcord for residences on the north side of 81st street, between 9th and 10th avenues; Robert Auld for residences on 94th street, west of 8th avenue ; George W. Rogers for ten three-story dwellings on the northwest corner of the Boulevard and 84th street. George R. Reade sold for S. T. Meyer & Son twelve lots on New avenue, extending from 104th to 105th streets, for $55,000, to the Protestant Half-Orphan Asylum, and at the Drake estate sale, held in April of this year, four lots on the south-west corner of 86th street and ninth avenue were sold to Francis M. Jencks for $14,650, and four lots on 87th street and nth avenue were secured at private sale by Jacob Lawson and C. S. Wescott for $10,000. Chas. Batchelor filed plans for five dwellings on the north side of 72d street, 175 feet west of 9th avenue; Edgar & Sons, for four dwellings on 70th street, west of 9th avenue; Wm. Noble for residences on the north side of 76th street, west of 9th avenue; M. Brennan for residences on the north side of 76th street, west of 9th avenue, and Henry Maibrunn for a residence on 78th street, west of 9th avenue, from plans by Alfred Zucker & Co., architects.
By this time the attention of the city was directed to the phenomenal progress which had been made by the West Side during the past two years. As we have shown, the whole building force of the city seemed to have been transferred from the East to the West Side. In 1885 plans were filed for 689 buildings to be erected at a cost of $10,686,284 — very nearly double the number of the year before and equal to the number filed during the same year on the East Side. In 1886 money was easy, the general state of the country was prosperous, and in short, conditions of every nature favored extensive operations. The buildings already erected on the West Side had sold readily, so that builders were inclined and were financially able to undertake new responsibilities. Early in this year D. Willis James, with Messrs. Prague and Power, began his extensive operations on 86th street, which has resulted in the erection of nearly 300 houses. The only other operators whose enterprises can be compared in magnitude to these are those of the Clarks, and those of W. E. D. Stokes and his affiliations on West End avenue and elsewhere. Mr. Charles Buek, another operator who has made very large investments of the highest character on the West Side, also began to build in that district in 1886, having previously confined his attention to the fashionable region in the lower East Side, wherein he continued the work of Duggin & Crossman.
This list contains all the building plans filed from the 1st of December, 1884, to May, 1885, in the district west of 8th avenue, and extending from 65th to 135th street. The total number of houses to be erected according to the plans amounted to 157, the estimated cost of which is $2,314,500. It is safe to say that $2,000,000 would not cover the cost of the buildings, the foundations of which were laid within the specified five months:
65th st, n s, w 8th av, five flats, James Philp, cost each $30,000; 65th st, s s, w 10th av, one tenement, Henry Meyer, $10,000; 66th st, n s, w 8th av, two tenements, John M. Ruck, each $17,500; 67th st, s s, w 8th av, three tenements, John M. Ruck, each $17,500; 70th st, s s, e 11th av, three dwellings, Tracy & Van Loon, each $12,000; 71st st, n s, w 8th av, seven dwellings, Owen Donohue, each $12,000; 71st st, n s, w 8th av, three dwellings, Thompson & Mickens, each $10,000; 71st st, n s, w Grand Boulevard, seven dwellings, Elizabeth Steinmetz, each $12,000; 72d st, n s, w 9th av, five dwellings, Chas. Batchelor, each $22,000; 75th st, n s, w Boulevard, five dwellings, Daniel D. Brandt, each $11,000; 76th st, n s, w 9th av, seven dwellings, Margaret A. Brennan, each $18,000; 76th st, n s, w 9th ay, four dwellings, Wm. Noble, each $20,000; 76th st, n s, w.£th av, six dwellings, John T. and James A. Farley, each $20,000; 76th st, n v s, w 9th av, twelve dwellings, John S. Kelso, Jr., total $210,000; 78th st, s s, w 9th av, one dwelling, Henry Maibrunn, $20,000; 81st st, n s, e 9th av, one dwelling-, Christian Blinn, $40,000; 84th st, n w cor Boulevard, ten dwellings, George W. Rogers; 87th st, n s,. w 9th av, three dwellings, I. M. Grenell, each $9,500; 88th st, n e cor Western Boulevard, one store, Wm. McCormack; 95th st, s s, w 9th av, two- dwellings, Edwin and Chas. Fraser, each $6,000; 101st st, n s, w 11th av, one dwelling, Robt. T. Bellchambers, $12,000; 104th st, s s, e Boulevard, seven dwellings, Martha A. Law son, each $12,500; 105th st, s s, e Grand Boulevard, four dwelling's, John F. Moore, each $12,000; 9th av, s w cor 93d st, one apartment house, Mrs. E. S. Auchmuty, about $150,000; 9th av, n w cor 94th st, and s w cor 95th st, two tenements and stores, John M. Pinkney, each $14,000; 9th av, w s, n 94th st, eight tenem'ts and stores, John M. Pinkney, each $13,000; 10th av, e s, 92d to 93d st, one brick building (Home for the Aged), Methodist Episcopal Church Home, $125,000; 10th av, n w cor 104th st, three tenements, Franklin Thurston, one $25,000, two, each $18,000, $61,000; 11th av, s e cor 75th st, six dwellings, Lamb & Rich; 123d st, s s, 8th to St. Nicholas av, six dwellings, H. Josephine Wilson, each $9,000; Same, two dwellings, same, each $14,000; 125th st, s e cor St. Nicholas av, five stores and tenements, James Cassidy; 126th st, n s, e St. Nicholas av, eight dwellings, The Nassau Building Co., each $12,000; 131st st, n s, w 10th av, one hospital, Manhattan Dispensary, $14,000; 8th av, w s, s 116th st, two flats and stores, James Connor, each $22,000; 8th av, s w cor 116th st, two flats and stores, James Connor, each $17,000; 8th av, w s, s 123d st, runs to St. Nicholas av, one store and dwelling, John M. Pinkney, $10,000; 8th av, n e cor 126th st, one tenement and store, Marie T. McCormick, $25,000; 8th av, s w cor 133d st, one tenement and store, Peter McCormack, $18,000; 8th av, w s, s 133d st, two tenements and stores, Peter McCormack, each $18,000; 8th av, w s, s 133d st, one tenement and store, Peter McCormack, $18,000; 8th av, n w cor 134th st, four stores and tenements, L. Weiher, each $10,000.
page 105 BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE IN NEW YORK.
In this year, 1886, the number of plans filed was 948 and the estimated cost of buildings $15,169,000. In 1887 the amount invested had increased to $16,607,975, but the number of projected buildings slightly decreased, to 824. This year witnessed the culmination of the first great activity on the West Side. Building had been slightly overdone. There were, as a consequence, a few financial disasters and many builders found themselves obliged to carry over their investments into another year. This state of affairs checked building so that in 1888 there were only 522 buildings planned for at a cost of but $10,383,500. By this latter year, needless to say, the West Side as we know it to-day was clearly defined. Riverside avenue and Central Park West were still neglected, but the character of all the other avenues was settled. As to the centre of activity it had shifted northward to 81st street, but below 72d street, a great deal of work was in progress. When "The Record and Guide" made its first canvass of the West Side, in the fall of 1888, it was found that between April, 1886, and April, 1888, plans had been filed for 1,049 dwellings and 522 flats and tenements, with the following result:
In 1889 plans were filed at the Building Department for 839 buildings, estimated to cost $21,574,200, and with this record we reach the banner year on the West Side. The activity of that twelve months has never been exceeded, as the adjoined table shows:
By the year 1890 the permanent character of the several localities on the West Side, between 59th and 125th streets, may be said to have been determined by the improvements described in the foregoing. The one important exception was Morningside Heights, the more recent development of which demands attention.
The improvement of real estate on Morningside plateau effected during the past five years is one of the notable achievements in the history of the West Side. Five years ago the region bounded by 110th and 1226. streets, Morningside avenue and Riverside Drive was practically empty of houses, and the character which coming improvements would assume was a matter of uncertainty. To-day the presence of Columbia University, the Teachers' and Barnard Colleges, and some thirty high-class dwellings determine the architectural and social complexion of the district.
The first impetus to improvement of real estate on the plateau was given by the sale of part of the grounds of Bloomingdale Asylum, in 1889. This institution was owned by the Society of the New York Hospital, which possessed the fee of between forty and fifty acres of land on the fairest portion of the heights. When the society determined to remove the asylum to White Plains an auction sale was held of ninety-eight lots on Amsterdam avenue (then called 10th avenue), the Boulevard, and 112th, 113th and 114th streets. The sale, which took place on April 4, 1889, was conducted by Adrian H. Muller & Son, and the prices obtained were considered satisfactory. Lots on the Boulevard brought from $6,350to $9,600 each; on Amsterdam avenue, from $5,800 to $8,600. The 113th street lots realized from $4,450 to $5,000; the lots on 114th street brought from $4,350 to $4,575; and the 112th street lots fetched from $3,335 to $4,275. All lots were sold subject to restriction, dwellings only being permitted on the streets, and flats and stores on the avenues. The sum of $500,400 was realized on the eighty-nine lots—an average of $5,106 per lot. The quickening effect of the distribution of this land among private owners is indicated by the increasing number of conveyances subsequently recorded, although purchases appear to have been made for some years with a view to investment rather than immediate improvement.
The next important sale occurred in October, 1891, when the trustees of the Leake and Watts Orphan House disposed of the three blocks bounded by 110th and 113th streets, Morningside and Amsterdam avenues, to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, for $850,000. The parcel comprised 200 lots, giving an average price of $4,250 per lot. This very low price is explained by the presence of considerable masses of rock on the site and by the circumstance that the trustees of the Leake and Watts Orphan House were affiliated with the Episcopal Church, and that, when the resolve was made to remove the asylum to Ludlow, it was thought that the founders' intention in regard to the land would be best respected by insuring its dedication to the use of religion. The filing of plans for a cathedral building in the following year, looking to an expenditure of five millions of dollars, reflected the judgment of experts as to the future of the neighborhood. It is true that financial causes of delay have arisen to retard the work on this splendid architectural monument. Nevertheless, its projection produced an extremely beneficial effect on surrounding property.
The year following the purchase of the cathedral site, namely in 1892, St. Luke's Hospital acquired the block bounded by 113th and 114th streets, Morningside and Amsterdam avenues. The transaction comprised eight separate parcels, title to the first being obtained February 29, and to the last March 15. The block contains 44 lots and the aggregate purchase price was $530,000, making an average of $12,045 Per lot— a marked advance over previous averages, due, partly to the proximity of the cathedral site, and partly to the circumstance that the land was purchased from private owners in comparatively small parcels.
The largest single factor, however, in promoting private real estate and building activity on the plateau was the removal hither of Columbia University. During the three years previous to and including the year of the purchase of the present site, plans were filed for flats and dwellings to cost $245,000; during the three years following the purchase plans were filed for similar buildings to cost $780,000—an increase of 218 per cent. These figures take no account of seven dwellings for which plans were filed in 1896 and for which the cost is omitted in the records. The Columbia University site was acquired in October, 1894, at which time the trustees of that institution purchased from the Society of the New York Hospital the four blocks bounded by 116th and 120th streets, the Boulevard and Amsterdam avenue, for $2,000,000. The plot includes 294 lots, making an average price of $6,802 per lot. It is not necessary to cite all the important conveyances that have been made in the period under review, our primary object being merely to contrast the land values of 1889 with those of 1897. The transactions mentioned were the determining factors in producing the present condition of real estate on the plateau. If now, we proceed to a comparison of the prices of 1889 with those that obtained in the fall of 1897, we find that the advance was sufficiently marked to excite attention. At the sale held by the Society of the New York Hospital in 1889, the lot on the southwest corner of Amsterdam avenue and 114th street brought $8,600, which was also the price commanded by the lot on the northwest corner of the same avenue and 113th street. The highest price obtained for inside lots fronting on the avenue in this block was $6,050. In 1897 two inside lots on the west side of the avenue, 25 and 50 feet north of 113th street, respectively, sold for $13,000 each. The lot on the same side of the same thoroughfare, 25 feet south of 114th street, brought $16,000. As to corner lots, the records show one transfer in 1897 (Jan. to Oct.), but as the lot in question passed as part of a larger parcel the transaction is useless for purposes of comparison. On the Boulevard we find no conveyances in 1897 which may serve as an expression of values, and the same is the case with respect of Morningside avenue, although it may be noted that the plot, 50X100, on the southwest corner of that thoroughfare and 11 8th street, sold for $22,500 in December, 1896. Practically no activity was felt on Riverside Drive either in conveyancing or in building improvement until the spring of i897,when twelve lots were put under the hammer at a partition sale conducted by A. H. Muller & Son. On this occasion the lot on the southeast corner of 119th street sold for $28,000, while inside lots brought from $14,300 to $17,750. As a matter of fact, the lots on the avenues, the Drive and the Boulevard are held as investments in strong hands, and will hardly be improved in considerable number until the building up of the streets. The street lots have been the subject of by far the largest activity both in conveyancing and in improvement. On 113th street, between Amsterdam avenue and the Boulevard, inside lots sold in 1897 at $8,100, as against $5,000 in 1889. We have no basis for comparison in the matter of 112th and 114th streets. If we are warranted in drawing a general conclusion from the particular data adduced, it is apparent that land values on the plateau have advanced in eight years between 65 and 164 per cent.
Turning to a consideration of the improvements that have been made on the plateau, we find that buildings to the value of nearly five millions of dollars ($4,974,550) have been erected during the period under review. In arriving at this estimate, we have accepted the values placed on projected structures in the plans filed with the Superintendent of Buildings ; and, with the exception of the cathedral, have included buildings in process of construction as well as those completed. Of this sum, roughly speaking, four millions represent public buildings, comprising those of Columbia University, the Teachers' and Barnard Colleges, St. Luke's Hospital, and the Home for Aged Couples ; one-half million represents dwellings, and a quarter of a million stands for flats. The marked preponderance of dwellings over flats is the result partly of the operation of natural economic conditions, but partly also the design. According to the terms of the sale held by the Society of the New York Hospital in 1889, the lots on 114th, 113th and part of 112th streets, between Amsterdam avenue and the Boulevard, were restricted for a given period—20 years, we believe —to the use of dwellings. Attempts have since been made, but without success, to obtain the consent of owners to a restriction of the entire plateau. It is not impossible, however, that this object may be accomplished by the Morningside Protective Association, of which Seth Low is president; Mr. Spencer Trask, treasurer; and Mr. J. P. Morgan, Jr., secretary; and of which Mr. H. H. Cammann and Mr. Charles T. Barney are directors. But whether or not the formal restriction of the plateau is achieved its character as a high-class residence district is well established, both by the improvements already made and by The sentiment of the prining cause of the great increase in the value of down-town lots has been the possibility of doubling or trebling the revenue obtainable from a given superficial area due to the elevator and the skeleton system of construction. These inventions have increased the potential value of every square foot of city property, and in the downtown section have, economically, necessitated the erection of high buildings.
We have seen that prior to 1879, what the modern sense may be rightly termed the era of high building had commenced. The number of towering structures were few; indeed, there were only two office buildings—the Tribune and Western Union buildings which would be ranked to-day among the "skyscrapers." The first factor that came to the aid of the property owner and enabled him to increase the capacity of his land and thus obtain larger income