Old New York In Photos #74 – Battery Place 1875

Battery Place Looking West from Broadway 1875

What could be a provincial European river city in the 19th century is in fact the southern portion of New York City in 1875.

This stereoview photograph of Battery Place, a street that ran for only three blocks along Battery Park, was taken from Broadway looking west towards the Hudson River and New Jersey.

Battery Place & vicinity 1852 Atlas of New York

The building to the extreme right is 1 Broadway, the Washington Hotel. The original building  which stood on the northwest corner of Broadway was a house occupied by General Israel Putnam and used by General George Washington as his headquarters during the early days of the American Revolution. After the war’s completion it became the Washington Hotel.

The five story Washington Hotel was sold for $167,500 in 1881 to Cyrus W. Field of Atlantic Cable fame. Field soon demolished the hotel and put up the Washington Building in 1883-1884. The Washington Building still stands, but was completely renovated in 1922.

The store on the northeast corner adjacent to the Washington Hotel advertising “Segars and Tobacco” is Rolff’s Hotel at 1 Greenwich Street. That hotel was also demolished for the construction of the Washington Building.

On the other side of Greenwich Street and Battery Place is Reinhardt’s Hotel, run by Charles Reinhardt. Previously the hotel was known as The Battery Hotel owned by John J. Hollister.

A telegraph pole stands across the street in Battery Park. If you look carefully you can see horsecar tracks curving away from Battery Place up to Greenwich Street

At the end of Battery Place on West Street is one of the many piers controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Four masted schooners and other ships are abundant on the Hudson River and the Jersey City shoreline is visible in the background.

142 years later, there is not one structure from this 1875 photograph that is in existence today.

3 thoughts on “Old New York In Photos #74 – Battery Place 1875

  1. Jeff

    Hi. Thanks so much for posting this photo. I had previously only seen a lower-res version, and been disappointed that I couldn’t make out what the signage said. (The “Segars and Tobacco” enterprise at 1 Greenwich was owned by my great-great grandfather Benjamin Schreyer and his brother Zadik).

    Can you tell me what evidence you have that the building was called Rolff’s Hotel? I was surprised to see that, because (a) when Cyrus Field tore the place down to build the Washington Building, my family had been living there for something like 14 years, (b) they and another family named Gottlich were the only residents at the time of the 1880 census, and (c) I’ve seen newspaper reports indicating that Field bought the building from William Astor.

    It’s my understanding that, way back when this had been a fashionable neighborhood, 1 Greenwich had been owned by the Schermerhorns, and that it was the house in which William Astor’s wife Caroline Schermerhon Astor (the “Mrs. Astor”) grew up.

    1. B.P. Post author

      The source is Phillip’s Business Directory of New York 1881-1882 published in 1881. They list Rolff’s Hotel at that location.

      Here is the original source page

      We did a story listing every reputable hotel in New York in 1881-1882

      also see New York Times March 18, 1881 page 8 – “Bertha Geschka and her husband Carl arrived in this city by the Ethiopia on the 15th inst. They took their lodgings at Rolff’s Hotel No. 1 Greenwich Street.”


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