Happy Birthday East 10th Street Historic District

Happy Birthday East 10th Street Historic District
A 1934 Image of East 10th Street looking east from Avenue A with the Chrisadora in the background. (Image via NYPL)
A 1934 Image of East 10th Street looking east from Avenue A with the Chrisadora in the background. (Image via NYPL)

A 1934 Image of East 10th Street looking east from Avenue A with the Chrisadora in the background. (Image via NYPL)

On January 17th, 2012, the LPC designated the East 10th Street Historic District. The district includes 26 row houses mostly built in the 1840’s and 1850’s, extending from Avenue A to Avenue B. Very few modifications to the buildings have occurred on this block since 1860. Only four of the buildings were built since 1860, with two being built in the late 1890’s and the latest dating to 1906. Modifications that have occurred mainly include the removal of cornices to increase the height of the original building.

As we reported when the district was designated: The block as we know it today was planned in 1825, when the heirs of the Stuyvesant family sold and ceded land so that parcels could be laid into the new street grid. In 1833, developers purchased the land between Avenues A and B, a year before city government acquired the land that would become Tompkins Square Park. The designation report for the East 10th Street district writes of the first houses to be constructed on the street: “The first substantial brick building to be constructed within the historic district appears to have been no. 301, which was erected as a speculative investment for Thomas Crane c. 1843-44. A year or two later, around 1845, the homes at nos. 305 and 307 were constructed—perhaps as a pair—for William F. Pinchbeck and Joseph Trench. The row of four houses at nos. 293 to 299, at the corner of Avenue A, was also developed by Trench sometime around 1846. Another group of four houses on the block at 313 to 319 East 10th Street date from around 1847-48.” 

Tompkins Square Branch. (Image via HDC)

Tompkins Square Branch. (Image via HDC)

According to the designation report “in many respects the entire history of the East Village is reflected in the buildings that comprise the historic district, from the neighborhood’s early development as a fashionable residential community of architect-designed dwellings, to its subsequent transformation into an immigrant district filled with purpose-built tenements and converted row houses.

In addition to the tenements and row houses, the block is also home to an individual landmark, the Tompkins Square Branch of the New York Public Library, designated in 1998. This branch was built in 1904 and designed by McKim, Mead & White. According to our friends at the Historic District Council, this branch was one of twelve Carnegie libraries  built by McKim, Mead & White, one of twenty Carnegie branch libraries built in Manhattan, and one of sixty-seven throughout the City. Read the library’s designation report here.

To read the designation report for any historic district or designated landmark in the Village, East Village, or NoHo, click here.

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