Designated December 12, 2006
In an area composed primarily of late nineteenth century rowhouses, the wood-framed Italianate villa at 70 Lefferts Place is one of few extant remnants of Clinton Hill South’s mid-nineteenth century suburban past. Constructed c. 1854 for the prominent merchant James W. Elwell, the house is one of the two oldest houses on Lefferts Place and a rare surviving freestanding house in Clinton Hill South.
For nearly 80 years the Elwell House was owned by members of the Elwell family; its rich cultural history was augmented by its subsequent association with the charismatic black evangelical leader, Father Divine, from 1939 to 1981. Likely derived from architectural pattern books, the Elwell House maintains many of its original Italianate characteristics, such as its cubical massing with projecting front bay, flat roof with wide projecting eaves and finely carved wood brackets, attic windows, pronounced front pediment, paired roundheaded windows at the second story of the front façade and rooftop cupola.
*Excerpt from the Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
STATUS Designated Individual Landmark
Clinton Hill has a variety of building types including row houses, mansions, stables, apartment houses, and institutional buildings. They were constructed during the 1840s into the 1920s and display the many styles popular over the course of nearly a century.Explore the Neighborhood >
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Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
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Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
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Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society
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City Lore, Folklorist
Bronx Music Heritage Center, Co-Artistic Director
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