18th Century Houses Of Manhattan
A guide to 18th century houses of Manhattan.
West 160th Street in Harlem Heights
The mansion and the small park it sits in were once part of an estate that stretched the width of Manhattan from the Hudson River to Long Island Sound. It is the only surviving pre-revolutionary house in Manhattan. British Colonel Roger Morris, the son of an architect in England, built it along Palladian lines, as reflected in its octagonal wing and two-story portico. The house was known as Mount Morris when George Washington used it as his headquarters in 1777. By then, Roger Morris had returned to England and his wife, Mary Phillipse, had taken their children to live with her family in Westchester. Mount Morris was operated as a fashionable inn before 1810. French wine merchant Stephen Jumel, and his American wife, Eliza Bowen, bought it next. Madam Jumel redecorated the house in the latest Parisian style. She had a notorious past that included friendships with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. She later married Aaron Burr in the front parlor of the Morris-Jumel Mansion. She died in the house in 1865. It now operates as a museum.
Broadway near West 204th Street
The last surviving Dutch colonial farmhouse in Manhattan, the Dyckman House has a low-pitched gambrel roof with spring eaves and is built of fieldstone, brick and wood. The house was built after the Revolution to replace a 17th century farmhouse of the Dyckman family that had been burned by the British, who had occupied it. Earlier, American forces used it before retreating to New Jersey. The house was restored in 1915, furnished with family heirlooms, and presented by Dyckman descendants to the City of New York as a museum.
Edward Mooney House
18 Bowery in Chinatown
This is the oldest row house in New York, built between the British evacuation and New York’s designation as the nation’s capital. Edward Mooney was a wealthy merchant in wholesale meat and a racehorse breeder. The side of the building facing Pell Street is gabled and has a round-headed central window flanked by quarter-round shaped windows. This forecast the Federal style in New York, while the building’s front looked back to the Georgian style preferred by the departing British. The building still contains its original hand-hewn timbers. It has been recently restored to its original condition and is a rental building.
Harrison Street Houses
Washington Street in Tribeca
A unique group of nine restored Federal brick townhouses, two of which were designed by New York’s first native-born architect, John McComb, Jr. Each building is two and one-half stories high and constructed of Flemish bond brick. They have their original pitched roofs and dormers. In 1968, the houses were threatened with demolition as they stood within a redevelopment zone. The Landmarks Commission and the City combined to secure restoration funding and to have the historic structures woven into the redevelopment design. The houses are private residences.
Abigail Adams Smith Museum
421 East 61st Street
President John Adams’s daughter, Abigail, and her husband Colonel William Stephens Smith owned a large estate on Manhattan’s East Side. The only surviving building of the estate is the Federal-style stone stable, which was bought in the 1920s by the Colonial Dames of America and turned into a museum. Joseph Coleman Hart, who owned the structure in the 1820s, filled in the original large openings for horses and carriages and remodeled the stable into an inn. Hart added Greek Revival porticoes to the exterior and inside built six fireplaces. The house today is surrounded by an 18th century garden that was planted by the Colonial Dames.