Historic Districts Council Walking Tour a Big Success

Last Sunday, Historic Districts Council sponsored a walking tour of the new “Fort Independence Historic District” as part of its Six to Celebrate program, which celebrates NYC neighborhoods most in need of preservation.About 30 preservation enthusiasts from around the city (and the neigbhorhood) joined the two-hour tour, which was led by architecture historian Anthony Robins, who also wrote the Cultural Resource Survey that will put Fort Independence on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The tour traced the many layers of history on our hill, from large the revolutionary-era Fort Independence; to Olmsted’s street designs which flouted the grid and followed the hill’s natural topography, laying the foundation for the peaceful residential enclave that evolved on the Giles and Van Cortlandt estates and has endured for over 100 years; to the great Sholem Alecheim, the 1927 experimental housing coop and artist community.

Tour goers were able to take a peak inside a 1922 “Garden Home” (Hopper and Koen) built on the Van Cortlandt Estate; a 1930’s tudor (Benjamin Dreiser) on Giles; a spectacular apartment in Sholom Alecheim; and a large, 1930’s era private home on Cannon Place.

Many thanks to Dart Westphal and Ellen Pollen; Jane Bedell and Sarah Garrison; the incredible Esther Sokolsy Nelson; and Frank and Evelyn Lipp for opening their homes.

The complete “Fort Independence Cultural Resource Survey” is available through the link below: 

Fort Independence Cultural Resource Survey, January 2012

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