The complex was commissioned by the Sisters of Mercy in 1899 as an orphanage for 200 children between the ages of 2 and 7 years of age. By the mid-twentieth century, the complex housed unmarried mothers and their babies. After the babies reached three months of age, the mothers were sent into the workforce to financially support their children and visitation was granted by permission-only. The Angel Guardian later provided housing for the elderly up until its sale by the Sisters of Mercy and thus has over a century of history dedicated to social services.
The Angel Guardian Home’s buildings were designed by George H. Streeton, a prolific architect of Catholic architecture in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The complex stretches from 12th to 13th Avenues, between 63rd and 64th Streets and has two of its original buildings extant from its opening in 1899. All other structures and landscape features have been demolished since the property sold. Avenue-through, walled complexes like this are rare in New York City, with Visitation Academy in Bay Ridge being a similar example. Built in an Ecclesiastical Beaux-Arts style, the buildings were designed in a polychromatic composition of red brick, limestone and copper.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission lists the meritorious features of the main building as: ornate, carved limestone door surrounds; corner quoins; arched windows; copper cornices and mansard roofs. The Angle Guardian Home Main Building was designated on November 10, 2020. All of these features appear on the convent building, which was carved out of the landmark site. This carve out is unacceptable, as this building is designed in the same high style as the main orphanage building. Unlike the main building, which has a utilitarian rear elevation, the convent building has four facades of architectural expressions facades. The sheer presence of four designed facades speaks directly to the architect’s intended distinction of this building–individually and as a part of this complex.
Aug 10, 2020
Designation Testimony for the Angel Guardian Home
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society
"HDC has begun a series of projects to highlight the Bronx's architectural and cultural history. From booklet's and research highlighting specific sites and historic districts to the HDC's symposium in October 2018 to the latest community-based committee to look into further possible sites to qualify for landmarking, the HDC has established projects that will serve the Bronx community well."
City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director
"Welcome2TheBronx is grateful for the advocacy done by the Historic Districts Council on behalf of the people of The Bronx. Through their deep connections and understanding of the importance of preserving our local histories, The Bronx has been able to have several spotlights shown on endangered communities as gentrification creeps into the borough."
Ed García Conde,
founder and Executive Director,