109 W. 17th St. was built in 1869/70 by Thomas Lord (1794-1879), living a block away at 35 W. 17th St. Thomas Lord was a prominent business man of his time, in fact so prominent as to receive a two-column front page obituary in the New York Times Feb. 8, 1879. Much of the obituary dealt with Mr. Lord's marriage at age 83 to a dashing widow, Mrs. Annette Hicks. Boy! were the kids pissed!
109 W. 17th St. was constructed to the specifications of the architect Charles Mettam as a coach house for Mr. Lord. The original design consisted of a 2-story building with stables on the first floor and the second floor divided between living quarters in the front and a hay loft in the rear.
The "Police Census" for New York City in 1890 shows John Farrel (or Farrell) living at 109 W. 17th St. along with his wife, 2 children, and Rose Grinell (possibly a mother-in-law?). Farrel's profession in Trow's 1890 New York City Directory is described as "driver," which seems to indicate that the stable remained a private coach house at that time.
In 1895 the building, occupied as a private stable and owned now by Jeremiah Dimick, a carpet merchant on Canal St., had a third floor added. Possibly it was enlarged in this way so as to be converted to a commercial livery stable.
The building was, in fact, a livery stable kept by Patrick Logan from approximately 1900 to 1905.
Logan is possibly the Patrick Logan listed in the US Census of 1880 as "coachman age 37 born Ireland" living at 116 Clinton Place, Manhattan. He appears first in the New York City directories in 1892 living at 312 E. 12th St. and continues as either coachman or driver until 1898 when he opened a livery stable on W. 18th St. Logan's stable moved in 1900 to 109 W. 17th St. and then again in 1905 to W. 27th St.
From 1918 to 1931 109 W. 17th St. was occupied by the Alliance Paper & Twine Co. Then it was taken over by Charles F. Wilson Inc., a printer and dealer in printers' supplies who remained here until some time in the 1960s.
Christopher Gray's Streetscapes article in the New York Times, 5 March 1995, recounts the story of 109 W. 17th St. in substantially the same terms as above.
Photos courtesy Frank Jump. Until I saw these on Frank's web site, I had been unaware of their existence. But there they were, and on a building right next door to the old B & H! I must have walked past them a hundred times without seeing them.
Many thanks to Frank for permission to use these here. For these and many, many more signs, vintage and otherwise, visit Frank's web site Fading Ad Campaign.
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