Thursday, June 6, 2013

Marshal Field Residence 4-6-8 East 70th Street, New York City

Marshall Field Residence 4-6-8 East 70th Street, New York City

Aerial view from 1924. NOTE the C. Ledyard  Blair house at the corner.

  Originally on this site were three rowhouses.  In 1921 and 1922 these houses were acquired by Evelyn Field, wife of Marshall Field III. She had them demolished for the construction of a large town house, designed by David Adler4-6-8 East 70th Street had a 63-foot-wide facade and was built to a depth of 97 feet making it one of the largest houses in the city.  

General view of 70th Street elevation showing west wall looking south.
August 6, 1926

Fifth story and Attic looking west from 70th Street.  The fifth and sixth floors were filled with staff accommodations.
June 17, 1926

The rear elevation had a similar treatment, but with the addition of oval bust-filled niches placed above the first-floor windows. These ornamental niches were inspired by those found at Ham House in England. Here a bonnet-topped central doorway was fronted by a run of stone steps descending to the garden below. 
April 14, 1927

Marshall Field Residence 4-6-8 East 70th Street, New York City
April 14, 1927

  The Georgian facade of the six-story house was faced in brick with limestone detailing. Entrance was gained through a door with a stone surround capped by a broken pediment filled with a decorative cartouche.

 Small single-story pavilions with copper roofs topped by eagle finials projected from either end of the structure and were attached to limestone colonnades extending to 69th Street, where a garage and service complex was planned, but never built.

Marshall Field Residence 4-6-8 East 70th Street, New York City

Marshall Field III

Evelyn Marshall Field - 1921

  The Fields divorced in 1930 with Evelyn receiving ownership of the house plus a million a year. Two years later plans to convert the structure into a clubhouse for the Intown Country Club never materialized("country flavor its aim" with imitation beach).

Diego Suarez and Wife Evelyn Field - 1937

  The house remained relatively unused as Mrs. Field became Mrs. Diego Suarez and moved into "River House", also by Adler(her ex had the triplex penthouse)In 1937 she sold the house. It was demolished soon after for the construction of the present apartment house 

Off the marble paved entrance hall were facilities for men and women on one side and a reception room on the other. The back of the house held a dining room that accessed a small adjacent space for the display of porcelain. 

In the center of the house was a large hall that had a staircase leading up to a 46-by-30 foot living room and a library of similar size.

The third floor contained Mrs. Field's suite, which extended the entire width of  the garden front. The suite consisted of a bedroom, boudoir, sectary's office and a maid's pressing room. Her husband's rooms at the front of the house were connected to hers by a series of bath and dressing rooms. There were two guest rooms on this level, with additional guest chambers as well as children's rooms on the floor above. They had three - Barbara Field,  Bettina Field and Marshall Field IV.

    82 progress photos of the construction(October 14, 1925-April 15, 1927) exist but no known interior views. Most rooms were probably paneled in a Colonial or Georgian manner and were similar to those at "Castle Hill", the Richard T. Crane Jr. estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts, that Adler was working on at the same time. No mention if sister Francis Elkins had input???  4-6-8 East 70th Street survived for only a decade.

  Click HERE to see "Caumsett", the Long Island estate of Marshall Field.

“Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music.”


  1. Two and two together you can imagine what the interior might have looked like - formal, museum-like perfection with a edge.

  2. One of my favorite Long Island houses is the Suarez residence in Brookville. I was interested to see that the bust-in-niche feature on the garden elevation of that house may have been inspired by Mrs. Suarez's former Manhattan residence. Diego Suarez is best known, of course, as the landscape architect at the Miami estate, Viscaya.

  3. Sorry! I meant to write Vizcaya with a 'z'.

  4. Thanks for posting this house. Had seen pictures a long time ago and never anything since. My it is big. I thought I had seen some interior pictures at the time too but that could be my memory playing tricks. Anything inside the colonnades do you think?

  5. ChipSF do you have any clue where you might have seen interiors? The colonnades look to be just that - space for protected viewing of the garden. You can imagine some wrought iron furniture for outdoor dining. In the photos you can see niches and perhaps decorative brick and stone work, not a lot of space for much else. For me it would be worth the trip to view the 82 construction photos from the Whitney Brothers held at the Chicago Art Institute. Peaks of interior details I;ll assume are possible. These photos are actually wrongly listed for Stanley Field, brother of Marshall. Stanley had Adler design a home in Sarasota - originally on land from Mrs Potter Palmer estate - now The Field Club.

  6. The niches with busts, referenced above, have precedence in several great English buildings, most notably Ham House, on the Thames near London, one of the houses that was mined as a design source for Adler's Castle Hill. The field house was perhaps to large to be lovely, but it was a particularly interesting experiment in creating a true London-ish townhouse in Manhattan.

  7. HPHS - I cannot remember where I originally saw pictures of the Field house but it was not in the last 20 years. It was probably when I was living in Chicago in the 80's. I don't think I ever saw any of the Adler material at the Art Institute, but I was in the Historical Society archives constantly, so maybe there.

    I have the Adler book published by the Art Institute and there is nothing in there. In the Stephen Salny book there is a small but very clear picture of the house from 69th Street (p. 198). There is an auto in front of a fairly plain iron fence with a view through the garden and colonnades to the rear facade. There seems to be an apartment building next door on 70th Street so a later photo than these.

  8. The townhouse stood for just one decade?

    Unbelievable how fast buildings went up and outlived their usefulness and purpose, especially private residences, as lifestyles changed after WWI, the depression lingered and in this case, after divorce. The rear facade could be successful without the four ornamental niches even if they were inspired by Ham House, as noted in the caption of photo number five, but it is the expansive colonnade enclosed garden which sets this house apart.

    Wonderful researched photos and please post the interiors if ever found.


  9. The Burnham Library at the Art Institute of Chicago has two archived items of the Field residence, 82 photographs by the construction company of the house as it was built and 17 working architecture drawings on microfilm. As noted above, there is a small picture of the house in Salny's catalogue raisonne and four drawings (included above) from Richard Platt's 1969 book on Adler. The Whitney photographs have no shots of the completed interior, the final two (shown above)are dated 14 April 1927.