This year’s Spring House Tour Benefit is right around the corner; on Sunday, May 7th to be exact! This year’s tour features seven incredibly beautiful Village properties including hidden gardens, fabulous art, and the answer to “what’s behind that golden door on Morton Street?”
In keeping with the storied history of the Village, the Spring House Tour has a longstanding tradition of including historic properties. This year’s tour is no exception. It includes homes within the newly designated Sullivan Thompson Historic District as well as an individually designated townhouse on Prince Street between MacDougal and Sullivan Streets. Built in 1834, this home was primarily constructed in the late Federal style, however it also has elements of Greek Revival. The home was designated a New York City landmark in 1979, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
We have featured several homes in the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District in recent tours. Two of the homes on this year’s tour are also within that district. Designated in 1966, it is one of the City’s first designated historic districts. It was added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1973.
According to the district designation report, the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District can trace its history back to 1767, when it was the site of one of the most beautiful mansions ever to grace Manhattan, the famous Georgian-style “Richmond Hill”, built on the top of a 400- foot tall hill with an impressive view of the Hudson. During the Revolution, George Washington used it as his headquarters. It was then John Adams’s Vice-Presidential Mansion when New York City was the nation’s capitol. Aaron Burr later purchased the home. With the development of the City northwards and the evolution of Greenwich Village from a rural to a city landscape, Burr mapped the property in 1797, planning its future development with lots of 25 by 100 feet on three streets, which became Charlton, King and Vandam. After his duel with Alexander Hamilton, Burr was forced to leave the city and his estate was taken over by Astor, although Burr retained the right to buy back the house and part of the land anytime within a period of twenty years. In 1817 Burr was paid off handsomely by Astor, and the development of the property proceeded.
The hill was leveled, the lots laid out, and building started. Local builders bought the majority of the new lots and erected the first houses as investments. Most of the remaining houses on Charlton Street, all the remaining houses on Vandam, and many of the houses on King Street were put up within a few years of each other in the early and mid-1820’s. They remain the greatest concentration and most impressive display of Federal style town houses in New York. There is also a row of Greek revival homes on the north side of Charlton Street which replaced the Federals lost to a fire in 1840. The “Richmond Hill” mansion was used for many years as a theater and a saloon before being demolished in 1849.
The other four properties on the tour this year are located within the Greenwich Village Historic district. We will reveal more about that area next week in Off the Grid!
Have we whet your appetite for our spring house tour? Purchase tickets here.
View Historic photos of the Sullivan Thompson and Charlton King-Vandam Historic Districts here.
Read the Sullivan Thompson Historic District designation report here.
Read the Charlton King-Vandam Historic District designation report here.
Read other designation reports here.