Thursday, November 19, 2009

New finds in 97 Orchard Street basement

We uncovered more spaces in the rear of the basement. This is an area we believe was once a residential apartment. The brick was covered with sheetrock. We removed it to have a look at what was underneath.

 Here's one of the fireplaces. You can see that it's been boarded up.

This fireplace was not boarded up quite so professionally. Bob, Chris and Derya could easily get into an open space at the top and begin to sift through some of the debris that fills the fireplace cavity.


Here's the back of a piece of sheetrock. It should give us a clue as to when the sheetrock was installed.

We found a table knife, all rusted over.

We found this letter. It says, "Scher's Jobbing House, 97 Orchard Street, NYC." The return address is pre-printed on the upper left-hand corner: PO Box 743, City Hall Station, New York, NY. It was posted on July 19, 1933 at 6 PM, passing through "City Hall Annex New York."

A man named Scher was a mentor to Max Marcus, who ran an auction house in 97 Orchard Street in the 1930s. We won't be able to open the letter until it's been "re-humidified." Right now it's brittle and we don't want to damage the envelope or the contents. Derya will put it in a humidity chamber to soften it out a bit.

What could be inside? And how did a letter end up in a boarded-up basement fireplace? We shall report back to you on the former very soon, and feel free to speculate about the latter...

- posted by kate


  1. Hi Kate,

    You've probably already seen this but PO Box 743, City Hall Station, New York, NY seems to have belonged to a Clement M. Biddle of the Biddle Purchasing Company. Perhaps it something to do with automotive parts?



  2. Actually, all we know is what we posted above, since we just found this yesterday. I was hoping someone would poke around online for us. Thanks James! Now, let's see... was Mr. Schers maybe selling or distributing Mr. Biddle's merchandise thru offices at 97 Orchard? Hmm....

  3. My Father owned Biddle Purchasing until it closed in 1985. Clement Biddle was the founder and owner. Biddle was a purchasing and buying service for the hardware trades including Automotive opening for business in 1879. It had offices at Chambers Street, then the Sun Building, then 225 Broadway.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.