Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Merchant's House

A series on historic residential buildings around the world that have been turned into museums.

The museum in the early 1930s (left) and now

From the mid 1800s to through the earl 1930s, the Merchant's House on East 4th St. was home (as the name implies) to a wealthy merchant named Seabury Tredwell. The Tredwell family's original furniture and other interior decorations are preserved in full, offering a glimpse of what life was like for the wealthy during an exciting time in New York's history, when the city first joined Paris and London among the ranks of "world class" metropolises. When the Great Depression struck, eldest daughter Gertrude Tredwell, living by herself, made sure to take meticulous care of the building as the formerly classy East Village neighborhood turned decrepit. In 1936, only three years after Getrude finally moved out, the house was transformed into a museum (quick, right? Most houses-turned-museum seem to have been formally preserved only in the 1980s), and acheived landmark status in 1965. Check out this virtual tour.

-posted by Liana Grey

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