Saturday, April 28, 2012

Frank Winfield Woolworth's New York City Townhouse


"C. P. H. Gilbert is at work on plans for an elaborate residence to be built for Mr. F. W. Woolworth on the corner of 80th Street and Fifth Avenue. It will be semi-fire-proof and faced with brick and stone; cost, about $90,000." Brickbuilder, 1899.


 At the north corner of 80th and Fifth Avenue Frank Winfield Woolworth  retained  architect Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert to design his new townhouse. It was completed in 1901.

For Woolworth, Gilbert designed a house with a lacy roof line with intricate copper roof cresting and crocketed chimneys and elaborately decorated dormers. 

The critic Montgomery Schuyler praised the Woolworth house for its “restfulness and solidity.” - 

"In point of quietness, the next house, the house at the corner of Eightieth, with its longer front on that street, is also exemplary. It is true that the designer of a corner house has the advantage, as we have just seen in another instance, that he need not disturb his basement with the entrance, which is the principal trouble of the designer of narrow fronts, but can keep it unbroken as a support and basis. But this designer has made the most of that advantage, and his shallow three-sided bay looks broad and reposeful. The detail is, perhaps, a little underdone in scale, and thus lacks emphasis and tends to flatness, especially in comparison with its neighbor, in which the scale is perhaps a little excessive. But this detail is so good in itself, and so thoroughly studied as to make the recklessness of much we have been looking at all the more evident. On the long front, too, the wall is of a grateful restfulness and solidity, while the design and distribution of the dormers and chimneys animate the sky line and prevent the quietness from becoming monotonous." SOURCE



RESIDENCE F. W. WOOLWORTH, FIFTH AVENUE AND EIGHTIETH STREET, NEW YORK


ENTRANCE, RESIDENCE F. W. WOOLWORTH, FIFTH AVENUE AND EIGHTIETH STREET, NEW YORK 


GROUND FLOOR PLAN, RESIDENCE F. W. WOOLWORTH, FIFTH AVENUE AND EIGHTIETH STREET, NEW YORK


FIRST STORY PLAN, RESIDENCE F. W. WOOLWORTH, FIFTH AVENUE AND EIGHTIETH STREET, NEW YORK


MUSIC ROOM, RESIDENCE F. W. WOOLWORTH, FIFTH AVENUE AND EIGHTIETH STREET, NEW YORK
In his memoir, “The Towers of New York”  the builder of Woolworth's mansion Louis J. Horowitz  recalled visiting Woolworth at the house, and watching him play the pipe organ. He said that Woolworth “told me that this playing gave him exquisite pleasure; when he was tired or vexed he would play for hours, not stopping until he was relaxed and easy in his mind.” 

SECOND FLOOR PLAN, RESIDENCE F. W. WOOLWORTH, FIFTH AVENUE AND EIGHTIETH STREET, NEW YORK

In the 1920s, Woolworth’s mansion was demolished for the apartment building at 990 Fifth Avenue.

Before he died(1919) F. W. Woolworth was planing, with Gilbert a new home with a footprint taking a whole city block.

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