Deserving but not Designated: Mount Morris Park Extension

The Mount Morris Park Historic District in Harlem was calendared and heard in 1966, just one year after the Landmark Preservation Commission’s creation, and designated five years later. It is a prime example of the overly cautious boundaries set during the early years of the LPC, excluding the area west of Lenox Avenue, not reflecting the traditional extent of the neighborhood and leaving unprotected many buildings of the same character, scale, style and architects as those in the district.

Development began in the area in 1872 when the elevated train was extended north to Harlem. Some of the most elegant rowhouses in the neighborhood were constructed on the blocks around and between Central Park and Mount Morris Park. Like the existing Mount Morris Park Historic District, the proposed extension consists primarily of handsome late 19th- and early 20th-century rowhouses whose Romanesque Revival, neo-Grec and Queen Anne styles inspired by the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago of 1893. Larger apartment buildings with similar styles and details can also be found here.

In 2011, HDC chose the first class of our “Six to Celebrate”, New York City’s only list of preservation priorities selected directly from the communities. Placing Mount Morris Park on that list was an obvious choice, given the architectural quality of the neighborhood, the significance of its history to New York City and the strength of its community. The district boundaries set by the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 were expanded in 1996 to include adjoining streets in Mount Morris Park. Recognition and protection of these architecturally significant blocks should be afforded by the city as well.

To read the National Register report click here 

To read the chronology of Mont Morris Park click here 

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