Chronology of 291 Church St. (originally
197, Street was renumbered in1890s; number is still visible
on front of building) and other related events.
1700 291 Church property part of large tract of land called Trinity Farms,
sometimes called Kings Farms.
1702 Yellow Fever outbreak- more than 500 died
1711 Slave market opens at Wall St. and East River.
1734 Anthony Rutgers leases swamp/ wetlands which contains 291Church property.
1735 Rutgers granted title to lease land and swamp is drained for cultivation;
mansion and formal grounds are constructed and named Ranelagh Gardens;
291 Church St. property is located within this mansion/ garden area; remaining
property used as farmland.
1741 Great Slave Conspiracy. Thirteen slaves burnt at the stake; eighteen
hanged; seventy others sold elsewhere.
1755 Rutgers daughter Elsie marries Leonard Lispenard, leaseholder
of a tract belonging to Trinity Church just adjacent to the Rutgers
Estate and combined lands become Lispenard Meadows; continues as farmland.
1765- 1793 Opening of Ranelagh Gardens, the original Rutgers mansion
and grounds, as a resort area where people could go for
food, drink and music,
1776-1783 British Occupation of New York , three thousand prostitutes sent
over for the troops; Ranelagh Gardens used as headquarters for British
1784 John Jacob Astor arrives in New York and enters fur trade.
1792 Opening of Washing-ton Market in Tribeca, an expansion of a market
located further downtown. Became the citys dominant market until
1799 Passage of gradual emancipation law
1804 First record of transfer of 291 Church St. property.
1805- 1809 291 Church listed in NY directory as occupied by Abraham Moore,
a carpenter, probably used as workshop. During this period people usually
lived and worked in the same place.
1812 William Maxwell listed in New York directory at 291 Church; listed
in tax records as a two story wood frame house
1813-16 Abraham S. Moore- 291 Church
1819 Abraham S. Moore, Isaac Locus Depression, value on New York real estate
and personal property declines.
1820 Property transfer books say property was bought by Naomi Edsall in
1820 but tax listings and NY directory say Isaac Locus, probably a lease
with agreement to pay taxes, probably similar to bankruptcy sale
1822-1826 291 Church becomes boarding house. This became common practice
in the neighborhood after the depression. Rineer Wortendyck, Amos Ketchum,
Abraham Mills lease rooms.
1825 First gas pipes laid in New York
1829-1831 Wortendyck running boarding house
1832- 1836 Wortendyck and F.S. Gozzens; new business venture, combines
boarding house with public restaurant
1836-1840 Tableau Vivants enacted by prostitutes (Art themes
usually biblical or classical) become the preferred form of entertainment
for men 1841 John and Gertrude Edsall, Rineer and Catherine Wortendyck,
Samuel E. and Mary A. De Groot, Edwin and Naomi Wright are all listed asGrantors;
1843- 1844 Estate of R. Wortendyck
1845- 1850 land transferred to Naomi Vreeland, daughter of Naomi and Edwin
Wright, married to Sylvester Vreeland 1840; S. Vreeland dies 1842, Naomi
Vreeland uses inheritance to purchase 291 Church, opens bordello
1848 A.T.Stewarts Department Store opens designed by architect
John Butler Snook; store became celebrated for its spectacular, neo-baroque
interiors. also designed 291 Church St. when it was rebuilt in 1877.
1849 First Cast Iron Building erected at corner of Duane and Center Sts.
1849-50 A.T. Stewarts managers report a number of incidences of shoplifting
by bourgeois ladies
1853 Textile markets move to Tribeca, also dry goods stores- wholesale & retail,
need for larger buildings develops.
1857- 1873 Land transfer lists as sold to Williams Adams but actually sold
and then leased again to Naomi Vreeland who continues, her bordello under
alias after police raid in 1850
1861 Attack on Fort Sumter, beginning of Civil War
1863 Draft Riots in New York
1868 Harpers Bazaar founded, later to be edited by great granddaughter
of Naomi Vreeland (Diana Vreeland).
1873 Depression due to real estate speculation
1875 Condemnation of 291 Church St. by Anthony Comstock and his associates,
anti-pornographer, anti-abortionist, determined to rid New York of prostitution.
Also condemned many other buildings in the area with related uses. Responsible
in part for the enactment of anti-abortion laws in New York.
1876 Land transfer lists as sold to Henry G. Muller who hired John Butler
Snook to design a new building. (present 291 Church structure)
1876 Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone.
1877 New, four story loft building with one story, cast iron base and brick-fronted
upper section trimmed in stone opened as the Emma Rich Restaurant, patrons
were textile and other workers in the area.
1877 Herman Melville visits the Emma Rich Restaurant.
1883 Edison Electric Company provides electricity for its first customers.
1925 George A. Muller (single ) and Emma Muller sold to Henry and Minnie
Koener who started importing sponges
1929- 1948 Atlas Sponge Co., Schroeder and Tremayne, Inc. Sponges and Chamois
1949-1951 D. Rich & Co.
1952-1962 Carbon & Graphite Products Co.
Chicago Commutator Co.,D. Rich & Co., Seager Carbon Co., George
1964- 1966 Carbon & Graphite Products Co., Kelly Girl, Services,
Inc. , Labor Aide Division, Martindale Dust Masks, Seager Standard
1967-1972 Carbon & Graphite Products Co., Martindale Dust Masks, Seager
Standard Carbon Co., Fil-Amer International Co., Mallmont Intl,
Inc., Seager Standard Carbon Co.
1969 New York City Planning Department decides to call triangle below
Canal St. Tribeca.
1973-75 George Antoniello, Carbon & Graphite Products Co., Martindale
Dust Masks, Seager Standard Carbon Co.
1975 Baby Doll Lounge opens on White St. in Tribeca
1976 F. Antoniello
1976 Martha Wilson, Willoughby Sharp, Virginia Piersol, Duff Schweninger
move into 112 Franklin St.1977-1979 K. Cox, Nicholas Hollander, P.
R. Mazur , B. OSullivan, Pola Rapaport
1979 Opening of the Mud Club
1980- 1 F. Antoniello, K. Cox,Delahanty Gallery
1982- 1985 Delahanty
1985-6 Chanterelle Restaurant(4*) opens in Tribeca.
1986- 1987 Delahanty P. Kolansky
1988-89 R.J. Rosen, P. Kolansky
1989-1992 J.L.Auerbach, Ann Luce
1995 -Baby Doll lounge changes from Topless Dancers to Stopless
Dancers in response to Mayor Giulianis crackdown on pornography
and sex clubs.
1999 property values reach unprecedented heights, in some cases more than
double their value of two years before.
Maureen Connor ©1999
THE HISTORICAL ATLAS OF NEW YORK by Eric Homberger, Henry Holt 1994
CITY OF EROS: NEW YORK CITY, PROSTITUTION AND THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF
SEX 1790-1920 by Timothy J. Gilfoyle,Norton 1992
TRIBECA HISTORICAL REPORT by Ira Goldfarb, Office of Lower Manhattan Development,
Office of the Mayor,City of New York,1973
Related events for Building Histories
Building Histories, curated by Maureen Connor, includes work that addresses
and reflects the history of 291 Church Street (the building that houses
Apex) and its immediate neighborhood at a moment when both Tribeca and
the art world seem to be undergoing a generational shift. The exhibition
includes site specific pieces as well as existing works that relate to
the exhibition concept. Additional programming, listed below, will be held
at Apex on the dates indicated.
Thursdays, October 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11; 5:00 pm
David Wells will present Exposed Wiring a slide show series
which investigates lighting fixtures in Tribeca
Wednesday, November 3; 7:00 pm
A slide talk by Martha Wilson, Founder of Franklin Furnace
Thursday, November 4; 7:00 pm
A slide talk by Tom Klem, Archivist of REPOhistory
Friday, November 5; 7:30 pm
Screening of Berenice by Michael Gitlin
1996, color, 16mm film, sound, 51 minutes
Berenice is a meditation on a dream of lost plenitude, and its inversion
into decay. The events depicted in the film concern the formation and dissolution
of a utopian community in 1832, and the psychic and physical disintegration
of two members of that community. In an allusion to the interiority of
the main character, Berenice, whose flashbacks form the films narrating
consciousness, the oblique and inward-turning fictive structure gives itself
over to delirious visual asides. The film is partially adapted from the
Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name. Additional primary sources used
in constructing the film include texts by the 19th Century French utopianist
Charles Fourier and the collected letters from Brook Farm.
Wednesday, November 10; 7:30 pm
History Lessons: Reviewing, Reclaiming, Reinventing U.S. History
A screening of tapes that are steeped in edgy cultural inquiry, organized
by Kathy High
Tara Mateil Cereal 6 min. Les Leveque Flight 7 min.
RT Mark Untitled #29.95 15 min. Shelly Silver small lies, Big Truth 19
Ho Tam Pocahontas: Transworld Remix 4.5 min. Elisabeth Subrin Shulie (1997)
Kathy High a new work Jason Livingston The End 3 min.
Keith Sanborn The Zapruter Footage: An Investigation of Consensual Hallucination