Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Henry W. Poor House

  The Henry William Poor house, originally the Cyrus W. Field residence at 1 Lexington Avenue in New York City.  When Poor acquired the house he hired friend Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White to completely redesign the interiors (White left the exterior untouched).  Poor and his father founded H.V. & H.W. Poor, early predecessor to Standard & Poor's.  In 1909 the contents of the house were auctioned off and some of the notable names present during the sale were Grosvenor AtterburyDuveen Brothers and James Gamble Rogers.  Atterbury paid $3,100 for a fifteenth century French tapestry, the Duveen's bought a Gothic fifteenth century tapestry titled "The Visit of the Magi" for $7,500 and Rogers paid $1,700 for a Flemish sixteenth century tapestry.  In 1910 the house was demolished and replaced with a twelve story co-op designed by Herbert Lucas.  Click HERE to see 1 Lexington Avenue on google street view.











Exterior photo from the Museum of the City of New York.  Interiors from Architectural Record, 1903.

11 comments:

The Ancient said...

"The Henry W. Poor House."

(It looks as if White unloaded quite a bit of his stock here. I love the baldicchino in the conservatory...)

The Ancient said...

"baldacchino"

I'm so harassed by the security images that I can't be bothered to proof-read my posts!

Zach said...

It must have been odd to tell friends at the time that you would be spending two nights in the Poor house.

Anything but.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Ancient, I might have said that White's full and considerable talents as a decorator are seen here in the richly layered and textured interiors. He was no doubt brilliantly talented (and clearly found a willing buyer in Mr. Poor). Interesting to compare these with photos of the Whitney interiors and White's own interiors...undeniably interchangeable, as surely as a Mario Buatta formula today (Black walls, pink tartan, yellow walls, blue picture bows, etc.)

The Ancient said...

Dilettante --

You know perfectly well that White is one of my household gods. And he was obviously one of the two or three best interior decorators of the late 19th century.

I don't even mind the (thrifty) decision to leave the (Morganesque) exterior intact.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Ancient, it cannot be denied that White is a household here at the Dilatarium also, and I second your top three---in this case, repetition of a good thing is never too much.

I actually find the exterior handsome in a nice Old New York way---what a wonderful surprise (sensual pleasure) it must have been for visitors to find these rooms on the other side

Anonymous said...

Even back in the day they were demolishing grand homes. I'm sure they did not salvage anything from this great structure.

The Ancient said...

I pointed out to TDED the two (or three?) mirrored doors in the final picture, The Writing Room. And he wisely pointed out that White seems to have used something like burlap with brass tacks on the walls.

chauncy primm said...

thank you for posting these remarkable pictures. i knew they had to exist. whenever Stanny was doing a job this big it had to make the news.

Kellsboro Jack said...

If I was Mr. Poor I would have preferred to say in my Tuxedo Park mansion - also with interiors by Stanford White. Such a lovely mansion that even after it was used as a school then as a religious home with the typical differed maintenance it still was jaw dropping in its Jacobean design.

Mr. Poor, who TDED likely knows was born in Bangor Maine, while never having to go to the "Poor House" did lose his fortune and his wife had to give up the 1 Lexington Ave mansion to satisfy creditors. File that under irony.

stuart geller said...

There was a J.Harper Poor Cottage in Easthampton,L.I. I wonder if this was the same family?