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NYC – The Oldest Building in the Village?

The Oldest Building in the Village?

If one thing is for certain, the Village is really, really old. Old by New York City standards, and even old by American standards. But which building is the oldest of the old?   The Blog “Off The Grid” gives us a possible answer.

We’ll start on the west side. On  the corner of Grove & Bedford Streets sits this lovely wood frame  house. Because of NYC fire codes, it’s rare to find wooden houses anywhere in Manhattan, but No. 17 Grove Street has survived in near-pristine condition. Built in 1822, it was originally only two stories high and gained it’s top floor in 1870, which is presumably when it’s Italianate-style cornice was added. The original owner, William F. Hyde, was a sash maker and likely made many of the house’s double-hung windows.

Even older is the 1799 Isaacs-Hendricks House at 77 Bedford Street, on the corner of Commerce Street, which was originally a wooden house; its brick front was added in 1836. What’s even harder to imagine is that it was originally a free-standing building surrounded by undeveloped land!

The construction date of 1799 makes the Isaacs-Hendricks House the oldest extant house in Greenwich Village. But is the oldest house in the entire Village? Let’s wander a little east to see what we can turn up…

Our first contender on the east side is the Merchant’s House Museum at No. 29 East 4th Street, aka the Seabury Tredwell House and arguably the Village’s most well-known historic house. One of the city’s first landmarks, the beautiful late Federal-style residence was originally one of a row of six near-identical houses all built together in 1832. Today, its is the only 19th century home in Manhattan that has been   preserved completely   intact on both the interior and the exterior. A construction date of 1832 means the Merchant’s House Museum is not the oldest house in the Village.

So where IS the oldest building?

At No. 44 Stuyvesant stands a Federal-style house built for Nicholas William Stuyvesant in 1795. making it seven years older than the Hamiliton Fish House and four years older than the Isaacs-Hendricks House in Greenwich Village. The house is crawling with stylistic signs of its age, including splayed lintels, Flemish Bond brickwork, and doorway proportions that are typical of that era.



One comment on “NYC – The Oldest Building in the Village?

  1. You’ll have a new career Thom being a guide soon 🙂
    I always find it fascinating to see whats *grown up* around an old building too !


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