18 & 20 Jones Street
Much fuss has been made of the news that the adjacent “sister” houses at 18 & 20 Jones Street are both currently on the market. We’re curious to see if these beautiful Greek Revival homes will be swooped up together, or sold off separately. Only one thing is for sure (big sigh of relief): They’ll live intact to see another day.
These houses are part of the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II, which was designated in 2010 (backstory: GVSHP proposed a large South Village Historic District in 2006. The City landmarked one-third of it in 2010 and called it the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension II, though we like to think of it as the South Village Historic District, Phase One. We’re still anxiously advocating for the City to landmark the other two-thirds of the proposed district).
It’s always scary to see two adjacent houses for sale in non-landmarked neighborhoods, when a developer can (and all-too-often will) tear them down, consolidate the lots, and build something uncharacteristically wide and tall. But thanks to the recent landmarking of this part of the South Village, 18 & 20 Jones Street will be spared that awful fate.
It certainly wouldn’t be a first for the houses if they were snatched up together. A look back of their history shows that for most of their lives, they have had shared ownership, beginning in 1844 when George Schott built and paid taxes on both of them. By 1880, they were both owned by John & Jane McGuaren, who added three-story, L-shaped extensions to their rears. And from 1909-1947, Greenwich House (aka the Co-Operative Social Settlement Society of the City of New York) owned and occupied both houses. Architect Henry T. Howard and his wife Jane owned the houses after that and were responsible for removing both stoops and converting them to multi-family homes. Another architect, Harley Jones, bought them both in 1974 and owned them until his death in 1996. It was he who replaced the lost stoop on No. 20.
After Jones’ death, the homes were sold off to separate owners. Fifteen years later, will they finally be reunited? We’ll have to wait and see!