Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, architect, writer

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867 – 1944) was an architect and pioneer in social housing who co-authored the 1901 New York tenement house law. His most important contribution to NYC may have been his  The Iconography of Manhattan Island, a six volume compilation he worked on for over 20 years and published between 1915 and 1928. It became one of the most important research resources about the early development of the city. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, and Berkeley School in New York City before graduating from Harvard in 1891. He later took post graduate courses at Columbia University and then in Italy and at… Read More

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Vertner Tandy, architect

Vertner Woodson Tandy (1885 – 1949) was an American architect. He was the first African American registered architect in New York State. He initially attended Tuskegee Institute studying architectural drawing. In 1907 he graduated from Cornell University with a degree in architecture. Tandy also holds the distinction of being the first African American to pass the military commissioning examination and was commissioned First Lieutenant in the 15th Infantry of the New York State National Guard. He designed buildings for  Harlem millionairess Madam C. J. Walker,  St. Philip’s Episcopal Church at 204 West 134th Street in NYC, and the Ivey Delph Apartments, designed in 1948, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.… Read More

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David Bates Douglass, landscape architect, Green-Wood cemetery

David Bates Douglass (March 21, 1790 – October 21, 1849) was a civil and military engineer, who worked on a broad set of projects throughout his career. He was an instructor/professor at The US Military Academy, Kenyon and Hobart Colleges. Born in New Jersey, he graduated from Yale University, fought in the War of 1812, consulted on the Erie Canal’s western end, and designed the  Montville inclined plane on the Morris Canal across the Northern area of New Jersey. Most New Yorkers enjoy Mr. Douglass’ work at the Green-Wood Cemetery. The sprawling, natural landscape and one of the highest points in Brooklyn (200… Read More

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James Bogardus, inventor and architect

James Bogardus (March 14, 1800 – April 13, 1874) was an American inventor and architect, the pioneer of American cast-iron architecture, for which he took out a patent in 1850. He was born in the town of Catskill, New York and was a descendant of the Rev. Everardus Bogardus, the second clergyman in New Netherlands. At the age of fourteen, Bogardus quit school to start an apprenticeship at a watchmaker. He began inventing early in his life and by the age of 28 had patented a cotton spinning machine, an engraving machine for bank notes, and a milling machine for… Read More

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Louis Allmendinger, architect, Mathews Model Flats

Louis Allmendinger, architect, designed and developed housing  in 1908 and 1911, setting the standard for future tenement construction. The homes  are characterized by three-story tenement buildings featuring yellow and orange Kreischer-brick facades, stone details, pressed-metal cornices, and ironwork at the stoops and area-ways. They are prevalent in Long Island City, Ridgewood and Woodside Queens. The buildings, known as “Mathews Model Flats,”  (built by Gustave X. Matthews) at a cost of $8000 each. They constituted better-quality housing than previous tenement models, providing larger rooms and private bathrooms. The tenements attracted working-class German immigrants from nearby Bushwick, Williamsburg, and the Lower East… Read More

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