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The Rich and Interesting History of 83- 85 Sullivan Street

83-85 Sullivan Street

The newly designated Sullivan Thompson Historic District designation report was posted last week by the LPC. This week, we will be looking at some of the 157 amazing historic properties included in the district. 83 and 85 Sullivan Street are two of the district’s individually landmarked properties, both of which obtained landmark designation in 1973. The buildings were originally built in 1819, rebuilt in 1825, and modified 50 years later. As we previoulsy noted: “83 & 85 Sullivan Street were built as part of the very first stage of urban settlement of this part of town, even before the particularly virulent yellow fever and cholera epidemics of 1822 famously sent New Yorkers permanently packing from their downtown homes to the more salubrious, rural climes of Greenwich Village to the north of the City.”

As the 1973 designation reports describe, the area on which these properties are located was originally part of the Bayard Farm. The first Nicholas Bayard was Peter Stuyvesant’s brother-in-law. A later Nicholas Bayard conveyed the property to Daniel Ludlow and Brockholst Livinsgton in 1789. They, in turn, sold it to Aaron Burr in 1791, who acquired a portion of the Bayard Farm contiguous to his estate “Richmond Hill”, which stood west of Sixth Avenue. Burr subdivided his property, and when he sold these lots to Anthony Bowrosan in 1802, they were on what Burr called Locust Street. Bowrosan, who operated a tavern and garden at Richmond Hill, sold the lots in 1807 to carpenters. The 83 Sullivan lot was sold to carpenter David Mulford, who first built the rear house on this lot in 1810, with 83 Sullivan being erected as a 2.5 story federal style home in 1819. 85 Sullivan was sold to carpenter Drake Crane, who first built the rear house on this lot in 1810, with 85 Sullivan being erected as a 2.5 story federal style home in 1819. Both original homes were destroyed in a fire, and rebuilt in 1825. Both homes were renovated to add a full third story, 83 Sullivan in 1880 and 85 Sullivan in 1874.

The properties have remained basically the same since then. They both still have their original Federal style doorways and leaded transoms, noted by the designation reports as “unusually fine”, “Elegant and understated, they typify the architecture of good breeding”, and are among the earliest surviving Federal Style doorways in the city. The low stoops with wrought-iron railings, Flemish brickwork, and multi-paned wooden sash windows are also original.

The beautiful doorway of 83 Sullivan Street (image via daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com)

Read the 83 Sullivan Street Individual Landmark Designation Report here, the 85 Sullivan Street Individual Landmark Designation Report here, and the Sullivan Thompson Historic District Designation report here. Read an extensive history of the properties written in 2015 by our friends at the Daytonian.

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