Endangered Inwood: Historic Sites and Buildings

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Inwood is full of historic treasures—single family homes, a marble arch from the 1850’s, even a mile marker from the old Post Road. Below is a list of endangered sites in the neighborhood. Not one of these locations is protected by landmark status. None have any signage at all.

I’m often asked, “What would you protect in the neighborhood” if given historic designation powers?

Here’s my list:

Seaman-Drake Arch

Seaman Drake Arch
Seaman Drake Arch

This 1850’s arch once served as the entrance to the historic Seaman-Drake estate. The arch, constructed of locally quarried marble, is the second oldest structure in the neighborhood. Only the Dyckman House is older. Privately owned, the arch could be torn down tomorrow. (Broadway and West 216th Street)

Hurst House

Former home of William and Minnie Hurst, Park Terrace East and West 215th Street.
Former home of William and Minnie Hurst, Park Terrace East and West 215th Street.

Built by renowned architect James O’Connor in 1912, the home served as the private residence of William Hurst, his wife, Minnie, and their ten children. Now owned by the Seventh Day Adventists, who run the school next door, the home has been bricked up since the 1980’s. Like many sites on this list the home has zero preservation status. (West 215th Street and Park Terrace West)

The Packard Building

Packard Building, 4650 Broadway, Broadway and Sherman Avenue, 2016.
Packard Building, 4650 Broadway, Broadway and Sherman Avenue, 2016.

On a quiet stretch of Broadway, across from Fort Tryon Park, on the northern end of Manhattan, rests a forlorn monument to a grand automotive era. Some say the old Packard dealership might soon be razed. Torn down. Wiped off the map. Today developers have their sights on the aging beauty. Her fate remains undetermined.

Single and Two Family Homes

529 West 217th Street. One of a handful of single and two-family homes that make Inwood so special.
529 West 217th Street. One of a handful of single and two-family homes that make Inwood so special.

These smaller homes tucked in among taller apartment buildings give Inwood a unique feel, but they have no historic designation.   Any one of them could be torn down to make room for development. (Various locations around Inwood)

Sanitation Smokestacks

Department of Sanitation smokestacks.
Department of Sanitation smokestacks.

On 215th Street, near Tenth Avenue, sit three massive smokestacks, which have towered over the Inwood skyline, east of Broadway, since 1934. Would these familiar features of Inwood’s skyline survive a neighborhood-rezoning plan?

Gaslight Lamppost

West 211th Street lampost repurposed as a street sign in 1925 photo. (NYHS)
West 211th Street lampost repurposed as a street sign in 1925 photo. (NYHS)

This often-overlooked relic of a gaslight era is one of two 1860’s vintage lampposts to survive in the city of New York. (West 211th Street and Broadway)

12-Mile Marker of old Post Road

Post Road marker near Broadway entrance to Isham Park.
Post Road marker near Broadway entrance to Isham Park.

This anonymous mile marker, its number wiped clean by the ravages of time, once told travelers they were 12 miles from City Hall in downtown Manhattan. Similar markers ticked off the miles to Albany in a path now followed by Route 9. (Broadway entrance to Isham Park near West 212th Street)

Old Slave Cemetery

Tenth Avenue and West 212th Street, site of former slave cemetery.
Tenth Avenue and West 212th Street, site of former slave cemetery.

Covered by an auto-body shop and public school this might be one of the saddest historic locations in the neighborhood. Once the burying ground for the slaves of Inwood’s early families, this site has been neglected and forgotten. A plaque, recognizing the significance of the site, at the very least, seems in order.

2 COMMENTS

  1. After it was an auto showroom the Packard Building housed Manhattan Lanes. The biggest bowling alleys in NYC. 62 lanes if I remember correctly. Regular TV show from there with black lanes and white balls. Don Carter shot a 154 on TV. Humiliating.

  2. I believe that Hurst House may also have served as a Catholic convent, back in the ’60s and ’70s, when the school you mention was Sacred Heart high school for girls.

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