Sunday, September 12, 2010

Private Residences Revisited

When I published the 1867 Evening Register article “Private Residences” on Thursday, I promised to provide the current addresses for all the houses mentioned. Researching the conversion in the old Hudson directories and touring the streets to see if the houses mentioned still exist led to two conclusions. First, the unidentified author of the article seemed mostly to mention the houses of people he knew or knew of. Some architecturally notable houses were left out. Second, a simple list of the 1867 addresses and the current addresses would be inadequate. Some of the houses do not have the same number they had in 1889 when the renumbering was implemented. So instead of a list, a commentary is being provided.
In the first block in Union Street there are a number of handsome houses, among them the residences of M. Hoffman Philip [12], Lemuel Holmes [11], Samuel W. Harris [22] and William H. Mellen [26] and David E. Kendrick [17]. These houses are all of brick, and are considered the most substantial in the city.
Three of the houses mentioned still exist--11, 12, and 17. It appears that neither 22 nor 26 does. The house that is now 20 stands between 18 and 38, with two lots to the west and one to the east making up its yard and garden. The surviving house was probably not originally 20 but 24, and both 22 and 26 have been lost.

On the second block, we find the residences of Robert B. Monell [53], and that of Wm. H. Clark [63]. The house of the latter is a land mark, having been built many years ago by Capt. Hudson. . . .

Diagonally opposite the Clark property is to be found the house of Sherman Van Ness [70]. This house is considered very desirable, as it has the appearance of a very stylish and aristocratic mansion.
No. 53 is now 123, and 63 is probably now 127, which actually faces Second Street but fits the description. No. 70 is gone, replaced by Mount Carmel Catholic Church, now St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church.
On this same block can be found many houses noted more for comfort than elegant appearance, although some of them are quite a la mode.--Among these are the residences of E. Sedgwick [69], E. H. Macy [97], Richard F. Clark [99], Mrs. Bacon [106] and Cornelius H. Evans [108].

House No. 77, now occupied by L. Higley, is one of the most ancient in the city, and is revered as the birth-place of General Worth. . . .

Opposite to Mr. Evans' stands the large and elegant house of George W. Gibson [111]. This is a large, old-fashioned mansion and is surrounded by ground enough to make quite a small farm. . . .
With the exception of No. 70, all the houses mentioned in the 200 block of Union Street are still there: 69 is 201, 77 is 211, 97 is 229, 99 is 231, 106 and 108 now share the number 238, and 111 is 241.
On the square above Third street stands the cottage of Dr. W. H. Hart [123], a neat house, built originally by Charles H. Casey. This cottage seems to be, and without doubt is, very cozy. The other noticeable houses here are those of Mrs H. Smith [184] and H. B. Van Rensselaer [177].
This gets puzzling. According to the directories, 123 became 255--still in the 200 block and the number of the building on the southwest corner of Third and Union that was demolished in the 1970s--hardly a cozy cottage. The other two buildings are still there: 177 is now 349--the Union Street Guest House--and 184 is 358.

Although the upper part of Allen street contains some of the finest dwellings in the city, the lower part can lay claim to a number of very nice houses. Among these are the rows of houses built by John I. Gaul [65-69], and the house of Wm. H. Power [71] on the block between Second and Third streets. . . . On the Southwest corner of Allen and Second streets stands the residence of Mayor Jacob W. Hoysradt [59]. This house is a correct specimen of gothic architecture, and was built by Charles C. Alger, from whom Mr. Hoysradt purchased it. . . .

Opposite Mr. Hoysradt, and fronting on Partition street, we find the dwelling and grounds of Mrs. Richard I. Wells [67]. . . .
All these houses are still with us. Nos. 65-69 are now 203-207, and 71 is 209, the home of The Gossips of Rivertown. No. 59 Allen is still 59, and 67 Partition is now St Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Returning to that part of Allen street above Court House Square and above the residence of Lucius Moore [195], we find the house of A. M. Baker [205], formerly occupied by the late Killian Miller. Nearly opposite this is the dwelling of J. D. Aymar [206], a very pleasant house, and just suited to the location. At the head of Allen Street on the South side, is a house belonging to W. W. Hannah, and occupied by T. Simpson [175]. This house is decidedly the neatest and coziest in town, and was fitted up under the direct supervision of Mr. Hannah, everything about it is complete, and it is much sought after, but nothing has yet induced the owner to sell it.
The first three houses mentioned are on East Allen Street. The odd-numbered ones are all gone, replaced in the 1930s by St. Mary's Catholic Church. However, the first house on the block--at the corner of East Allen and East Court--which was designed by J. A. Wood, who was the architect for the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie and the Gothic expansion of our own First Presbyterian Church, was not demolished but moved. It is now Catholic Charities at 431 East Allen Street. No. 206 may be lost. In the directories, 206 became 428. The first two houses on the north side of East Allen have the numbers 426 and 430. According to the 1867 directory, the house occupied by T. Simpson was not on East Allen but on the 300 block of Allen. It was probably the house that stood on the site that is now the courthouse parking lot.
On the block above Fifth street are a number of houses, the most of them set a few feet back from the street. Among the more noticeable of these is the house lately owned by John French [278], and those of Thomas Gantley [286] and Hiram Macy [309].
These three houses still exist. No. 278 is 518, 286 is 538, and 309 is 549.
Directly opposite Sixth street, in Union, is the palatial residence of Thomas Best [325]. . . . It has been built hardly two years. . . .

Above this mansion are the residences of Wm. H. Crapser [331], Alex S. Rowley [333] and Robert Shepard [corner of Seventh], all frame buildings, but of the best models and very stylish.
No. 326 is now 601--the Italian villa built after a design by Richard Upjohn. This house, formerly the Elks Club, is known as the Terry-Gillette Mansion and is commonly believed to have been built for William Terry, partner in the retail firm of Guernsey & Terry. However, this article identifies the original owner as Thomas Best. Of the other three buildings mentioned, two remain: 333 is 611 and the house at the corner of Seventh is 619. No. 331, the site of the residence of Wm. H. Crapser, is now a municipal parking lot.

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