A look at the lost mansions of Madison Avenue

New York Weekend Edition /
May.May 07, 2017 02:34 PM

Before admen and office towers became synonymous with Madison Avenue, the ruling class of another age built magnificent mansion along the boulevard. Here is a look back at the fantastic homes and architecture that once lined Madison via Reddit user ShowUsYourSoffits.

First stop is the home of sugar merchant Charles Sneff. He built his mansion at 300 Madison Avenue on the northwest corner. Completed in 1900, the brick and granite house boasted a mahogany-paneled art gallery and a dining room trimmed with gold leaf, according to the blog halfpuddinghalfsauce which researches historic homes and country mansions. After Sneff’s death in 1911, his widow moved to A Townhouse On East 79th Street. Today a glass office tower occupies the property.

In 1891, Frederick Ferris Thompson succeeded his father as president of Chase National Bank. Shortly after he built as large home at 297 Madison Avenue. But by 1908, the Thompsons were living abroad and they struggled to fined a residential tenant for their enormous house. Eventually, they leased the house to the Aero Club of America, but in 1927 it was demolished to make way for the Lefcourt Colonial Building.

Nearby at 299 Madison Avenue, there once stood the home of Oakleigh Thorne, a director of Wells Fargo. His house burned in 1902 shortly after completion. It was rebuilt, but was soon after sold to a developer.

One final example: The Carrere & Hastings architectural workshop — known for the New York Public Library. The townhouse at Madison Avenue and 41st Street was used by the architectural firm until 1911, the year Carrere died in a car accident. The house sat vacant for a year and was demolished.


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