The underground Railroad didn’t skip New York City.
Built in the 1840s on what was then called Lamartine Place, number 339 was owned by James S. Gibbons and his staunch abolitionist wife, Abigail Hopper Gibbons.
According to the Landmarks Preservation Committee Report that declared the house and its neighbors the Lamartine Historic District:
“In his memoirs, the American lawyer and diplomat Joseph Hodges Choate who was a friend of the Gibbons family recollects dining with the Gibbons and a fugitive slave at No. 339 in 1855, citing the residence as a stop on the Underground Railroad.”
No. 339 (in the center, under scaffolding and a new facade) was also attacked and burned in the 1863 Draft Riots, when roving mobs of New Yorkers upset about new draft laws killed African-Americans.
A house with history like that can’t escape scrutiny—which is probably why the city ordered the current owner to tear down the illegal fifth floor that was recently added.
Tags: 339 West 29th Street, Abigail Hopper Gibbons, Draft Riots 1863, Draft Riots NYC, Hopper Gibbons House, John Bowne House, Lamartine Historic District, Lamartine Place, Plymouth Church Brooklyn, Underground Railroad New York City