Rare Postcards Of The Upper West Side And Harlem 1900 – 1915
Broadway and 141st Street Looking North circa 1903
Most old postcards depicting turn of the century New York City usually show the typical tourist attractions, landmarks and notable buildings of the city.
It was uncommon for the big postcard manufacturers to produce postcards of average streets, buildings or scenes in New York City for people to send to their friends back home. After all who wanted to see an apartment building on 117th Street and Seventh Avenue?
That is what makes these scenes of New York City and upper Manhattan rather unique. They feature the areas not frequented by tourists. They are photographs, rather than illustrations, and were typically produced in small quantities by smaller or unnamed card manufacturers. The absence of vehicles and people on the streets belies the rapid housing development that occurred in upper Manhattan during the time. Click on any postcard to enlarge.
Euclid Hall Apartments 2349 Broadway, northwest corner of Broadway and 86th Street. This view shows the Euclid Hall Apartments which was built in 1903 by Hill and Turner is a heavily ornamented seven story red brick building. It is still standing and the ground floor has been modernized and now houses commercial businesses.
The William Apartments looking west at 243 West 98th Street, northwest corner of Broadway and 98th Street. The William, a seven story building was completed in 1899 and is currently a condominium. To the right of The William behind the trees is the Arragon at 2611 Broadway. Continue reading →
The northern area of Manhattan: Washington Heights, Inwood and Fort Tryon were among the last areas of the island to be developed. Much of the area remained somewhat rural until the early 20th century as evidenced in this undated photograph.
The area of Fort George Hill was at the time of the Revolution called Laurel Hill. Upon it the British constructed an extensive fortification called Fort George. The Fort was located at what would today be 192nd Street and Audubon Avenue. The neighborhood that sprung up around this area was given the name of Fort George Hill.
Fort Tryon Hill was one of the last portions of Manhattan to pass from Indian ownership to the possession of the Dutch. The aboriginal owners were the Wickquaskeek corrupted to Wickers Creek Indians.
Fort Tryon Map Showing Land Ownership and Parcels
Fort Tryon was named by the British for Major General William Tryon (1729–1788), the last British governor of colonial New York. Fort Tryon was part of a series of posts running along the Hudson River during the revolutionary war.
Between 1901 and 1904 Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings acquired several property lots from many different owners around Fort Tryon Hill. Billings had begun assembling an estate that culminated in a stately mansion being built which was completed in 1907. The mansion can be seen on the right hand side of the photograph. Billings sold the mansion in 1916 to John D. Rockefeller. In 1917 Rockefeller donated the Billings estate and surrounding properties which he had acquired to New York City and the area was turned into Fort Tryon Park. The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1926.