Jensen-Lewis Co., Awnings, 205 W. 19th St. (2006)

On the left cut by a window is a sign for Hugh E. O'Reilly / Real Estate (click for detail).

Hugh Edward O'Reilly (1875-1927) was the owner of 205 W. 19th St. when it was constructed in 1912. "Walter Haejete, architect, of 17 Madison Avenue, has filed plans for the erection of a twelve-story loft at 205 to 209 West Nineteenth Street, the plot being 148.3 by 88 feet. Hugh E. O'Reilly of 205 Seventh Avenue is the owner, and the cost has been estimated at $250,000" (New York Times, 10 July 1912, p. 15). The property may have belonged to his grandfather, who is listed in city directories as a distiller at this address from 1874 until 1901. Hugh E. O'Reilly was the grandson of Hugh O'Reilly, an immigrant from Ireland, who was in business in New York City as a grocer, distiller, brewer and owner of various saloons, from around 1850 until the early 1900s.

Wilson's New York City Copartnership Directory for 1874 lists the firm name, O'Reilly, Skelly & Fogarty at 205 W. 19th St. The partners were Hugh O'Reilly, Patrick Skelly, and Patrick A. Fogarty. Patrick Skelly was the founder of the Kip's Bay Brewing Co. and became quite wealthy. In 1908 the New York Times reported the value of his estate at $1,795,536. This is from the Weehawken Street Historic District Designation Report, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, 2006, regarding a property at 304 W. 10th St. (aka 1 Weehawken St.): "After a partition sale, the property was transferred in 1898 to Patrick Skelly, a prominent and wealthy Irish-born brewer and distiller. In 1876, Skelly and another brewer-distiller, Patrick A. Fogarty, had purchased an Astor family residence at 409-411 West 14th Street, which they altered and expanded into an ale brewery/flats building (1876, John B. Snook). This appears on an 1879 map as [Hugh] O'Reilly, Skelly & Fogarty's Centennial Brewery... By 1899, O'Reilly, Skelly & Fogarty were in financial difficulty and their properties were sold at public auction in 1901. Skelly was also founder of the Kips Bay Brewery, and he and his son operated a wine and liquor business at 21-25 Ninth Avenue ... from 1886 until the 1910s. Skelly's estate at the time of his death (c. 1908), worth nearly $1.8 million, consisted mostly of real estate, including many saloons." As of 2000 the Kip's Bay Brewing Co. building at 660 1st Ave. between 37th & 38th St. still survived, now serving "the needs of multiple business enterprises" (AIA Guide to New York, 4th edition, by Norval White & Elliot Willensky).

The business, Hugh E. O'Reilly, Real Estate, was located at 205 W. 19th St. from 1914 to 1929. O'Reilly also did business under the names Alchemist Realty Corp. and Wyanoke Realty Co.

The following is from the New York Times, 30 July 1927, p. 15, "Hugh Edward O'Reilly, a native of New York and for the last twenty years well known in the real estate field in this city, died yesterday at his home, 4 Rockaway Road, Garden City, L. I. He was in his fity-second year. Mr. O'Reilly was a graduate of the College of St. Francis Xavier in the class of '94. He was later graduated from the New York Law School and practiced law for several years before going into the real estate business. In 1902 he was married to Miss Louise Campbell O'Reilly. Mr. O'Reilly is survived by his widow, one son, Hugh Campbell O'Reilly, and two daughters, Louise and Katherine O'Reilly."

The son, Campbell H. O'Reilly (1903-1972), carried on the real estate business after his father's death. Campbell O'Reilly was located at 205 W. 19th St. from 1930 to 1971.

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