Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Questions for Curatorial: Orchard Street's Early Days

Curatorial Director Dave answers your questions.

Was 97 Orchard Street the first tenement to be built on the block?

By 1828, there were structures on all thirteen lots on the western side of Orchard Street between Broome and Delancey. Except for a church and the building on the corner of Broome Street, which was probably a multifamily residence with a store on the ground floor, all were mainly residential. For the most part, these were two-to-three story wood frame dwellings which by the 1850s were being used as multifamily residences.

95, 97, and 99 Orchard Street circa 1999.
Collection of LESTM.
Initial development of the 97 Orchard Street lot began with the erection of a Reformed Dutch Church in 1828, which stood on what is today 95, 97, and 99 Orchard Street. In 1860, the Dutch Reformed congregation sold the church to a Universalist congregation, who not long after sold it again to the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Three years later, in 1863, the property was purchased by Lukas Glockner, Adam Strum, and Jacob Walter. The new owners demolished the church structure, for the 1864 Orchard Street tax rolls list three new five-story tenements on the lots, one belonging to each of the buyers. [Editor: Can you see the headline today? "High Rise Housing Development Destroys Church"]

As only one-fifth of the buildings located in the 10th ward were tenements, 95, 97, and 99 Orchard Streets are the earliest surviving tenements on the block bounded by Broome and Delancey.

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