Saturday, January 29, 2011
Behind the veil (3 of 3)
Once you know what you're looking at, the streetscape becomes something entirely different. This is the west side of Second Avenue, looking south from 14th Street, clearly a block of what were once fine city houses.
This block, on the east side of the Avenue, has one remarkable survivor owned by the church next door.
What an exquisite old house this is, with its high style free-standing front entry porch complete with ionic columns, unaltered parlor floor windows with original iron balcony, and possibly even the original "6 over 6" double-hung windows from the 1830s. The half-floor on top might have replaced a pair of dormer windows; if so, it was done a long time ago. Or, the cornice and top floor windows might all be original. The second scenario seems more likely to me. Over the years the original shutters disappeared, victims no doubt of deferred or non-existent maintenance. They made a big difference in the way the house looked, as the next image shows.
A few blocks away, on East 4th St just west of Second Ave., is the so-called "Old Merchant's House," built in 1832 by a fellow named Joseph Brewster, sold to merchant Seabury Tredwell in 1836 and occupied by Tredwell's daughter Gertrude until 1933. Boy, did she ever see changes in a neighborhood. The house is a museum today and in immaculate restored condition, so if you're wondering what all those now vanished front doors, and dormer windows, and cornices and so forth used to look like, you can see them all here.