249 West End Avenue
NB Number: NB 863-1892
Architect: True, Clarence
Developer/Owner/Builder: H. Chaffe
NYC Landmarks Designation: Historic District
Landmark Designation Report: Addendum to the West End-Collegiate Historic District Extension Designation Report
National Register Designation: N/A
Primary Style: Romanesque Revival
Primary Facade: Brick, Limestone, and Roman Brick
Stories: 4 1/2
Historic District: West End-Collegiate HD Extension
Special Windows: Cross-shaped window openings at upper half-story (altered or replaced sashes); round-arched window openings at fourth story (replaced with square-headed upper sashes); may have historically contained curved sashes at bay windows (sashes replaced).
Significant Architectural Features: Rusticated, textured limestone at first story, capped by a small molded cornice; Roman brick upper stories including details such as splayed brick lintels at second and third stories and round-arched window surrounds with small foliate keystones at fourth story; richly-carved window surrounds with cartouche detail at upper half-story; curved bay at second and third stories, capped by limestone balconette; simple molded cornice above fourth story with deep, plain fascia; bracketed cornice; facade details, including cornice, turn 90 degrees at northernmost edge (likely attached to adjacent row house, now demolished); bas-relief details at main-entry reveal; rope molding at northernmost edge.
Alterations: Window openings shortened at second story (infill painted; see c. 1939 tax photograph for original appearance); window panning at first through third stories painted; replaced sashes (one-over-one double-hung sashes present in c. 1939 tax photograph; see also “Special Windows”); awning at main entry; light fixtures at main entry; non-historic tile at stoop; address numbers “249” to north of main entry.
Building Notes: This house was originally constructed as one of four or five similarly-designed houses. The row was likely very similar in appearance, particularly at the upper stories, to other Clarence True designed houses within the historic district, including 211 to 223 West 70th Street. This particular house, 249 West End Avenue, is most similar in appearance to nos. 217, 219 and 221 of the West 70th Street row. Long-time owner, Mary Cook, repeatedly declined offers to sell the house, even as similar homes to the north and south were demolished for construction of large-scale apartment buildings. As a result, 249 West End Avenue stands as an anomaly from the past along this streetwall.
References: “The Remarkable Hold Out at No. 249 West End Avenue,” Daytonian in Manhattan (December 22, 2011) http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com (accessed July 17, 2012).
Site Features: Possibly historic or original decorative handrails at stoop
Notable History and Residents: During the 1930s, and possibly extending into the 1940s, the Continental Club was located within the building, offering lectures, musical performances, and other cultural events. During this time period (from 1933 to at least 1942), within the Continental Club, was also the Uptown Gallery, run by Robert Ulrich Godsoe, where works of cutting-edge artists including Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko were shown.
References: Howard Devree, “The Galleries,” New York Times, October 22, 1933, X5; “New Shows: Among the Recent Gallery Openings,” New York Times, May 27, 1934, X7; “The Remarkable Hold Out at No. 249 West End Avenue,” Daytonian in Manhattan (December 22, 2011) http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com (accessed July 17, 2012).
East Facade: Designed (historic, painted at first story)
Door(s): Replaced primary door
Security Grilles: Not historic (upper stories)
Sidewalk Material(s): Concrete
Curb Material(s): Granite