Sunday, January 28, 2018

Piecing Together a Building's History

In December, Gossips shared a letter to the editor that appeared in the Hudson Evening Register for December 11, 1917, lamenting the fact that Central House, located on the southeast corner of Warren and Fifth streets was about to close its doors as a hotel.

Today, I discovered this little news item in the Columbia Republican for January 29, 1918, which reveals the next step for Central House.

Curious to know what Central House looked like after its conversion to stores and flats, I went looking for photographs that might show the building after 1918. I found this picture of Central House, dated 1868, which indicates the building had gotten a pretty significant facade change, probably around the turn of the century.

I also found this post card image, which shows Central House, at the far left, much as it appears in the photograph at the beginning of the post.

The building's central tower is  reminiscent of similar features in building attributed to Michael O'Connor--the original Firemen's Home (1892), Sixth Street School (1887), and 39 West Court Street (1894).

Is such a tower merely reflective of the architectural style of the period, or is it evidence O'Connor may have had a hand in redesigning the facade of Central House at some point before 1918, when he undertook to introduce storefronts into the building? 

In the collection of photographs by Howard "Howie" Gibson, made available online by Bruce Bohnsack, I discovered a picture taken in 1953 that shows the building that had been Central House with a storefront, no doubt one of the two storefronts designed by Michael O'Connor that were added to the building in 1918.


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