Curatorial Director Dave answers your questions. Have a question for Dave about tenement living conditions or the history of the Lower East Side? Send us an email.
When the hallway toilets were introduced to 97 Orchard Street in 1905, where did the residents of the apartments on the south side of the building go?
In order to comply with the requirements of the 1901 Tenement House Act, at 97 Orchard Street, two water closets and an adjoining fireproof shaft of steel and terracotta were constructed on each floor in 1905, in space that had previously been part of the inner bedrooms of the apartments on the south side of the building.
Although the addition of hallway toilets was major structural undertaking that impacted the building’s livability, Museum researchers know little about how residents dealt with what must have been challenging situation. Indeed, those who inhabited the apartments on the south side of 97 Orchard Street would have experienced the greatest inconvenience, but there is no evidence to suggest whether or not they were evicted or found residence elsewhere during the construction.
Photo © Collection of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum