Eighty years ago today, on May 11, 1936, the old Tredwell house on 4th Street opened as the Merchant’s House Museum.
An 1832 late-Federal and Greek Revival, the house was owned by the Tredwell family from 1835 through 1933. The Tredwells, a wealthy merchant-class family, continuously inhabited the building until the last Tredwell daughter died in the 1930’s. After the daughter’s death, the home was sold and the new owner found that it still contained all of the Tredwell family’s original possessions. This collection, which comprises over 3,000 items, includes “furniture, decorative arts, clothing, photographs and books, household items, and personal items. Highlights include a suite of 12 mahogany side chairs attributed to renowned furniture maker Duncan Phyfe, a pair of matching six-globe gas chandeliers, and 40 dresses and numerous fashion accessories that belonged to the Tredwell women.”
The Merchant’s House Museum has a few preservation distinctions as well. It was the first building designated an individual New York City landmark in 1965. It is also one of only 117 buildings in the city to have both interior and exterior landmark status. The house is also recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, it is also the only historic house museum in the Greenwich Village/Soho/NoHo neighborhoods.
Take some time to celebrate this outstanding octogenarian by either visiting the museum (open Thursday through Monday –check their website for exact times and holiday schedules) or reading one of our many blog posts on it. In one post we take a look at photos of the museum around the time that it first opened, while another one takes a look at the structural restoration project that took place there a couple of years ago. Finally, we also wrote about the museum as part of last year’s Landmarks 50, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks law.