The last surviving relic of an old Inwood mansion

It’s a bizarre sight: At Broadway and 215th Street, amid an unremarkable stretch of neighborhood shops, sits a marble arch straight out of Gilded Age New York City.

The arch (New-York Historical Society photo, right) is marred by graffiti and litter, closed off behind a chain-link fence. So what’s it doing there?

Known as the Seaman-Drake Arch, it’s the last remnant of the Seaman Mansion, a magnificent 19th century hilltop home built by the Seaman family, when Inwood was dotted by country estates.

The arch marked the entrance to the mansion, which was later sold to a family named Drake. As Inwood lost its rural character, the mansion was razed; on the site now is the Park Terrace apartment complexes.

Myinwood has more in-depth history and photos. And Gothamist found an incredible shot of the original mansion and gate.

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10 Responses to “The last surviving relic of an old Inwood mansion”

  1. Upstate Ellen Says:

    How sad!

  2. Terry Lynn LeCompte Says:

    I had always wondered what that was!! Thank you!

  3. oscar Says:

    how apropos for nyc
    either a mansion or a ghetto

  4. Michelle Says:

    Very sad … so many beautiful things which have been laid to waste.

  5. Bookpod Says:

    We tend to think that wealth preserves great buildings and institutions. The Seaman-Drake arch suggests that there is no such guarantee…

  6. David Freeland Says:

    Thanks for writing about this. It’s one of the great surprises and treasures of Inwood. It’s true that sites associated with the wealthy are often preserved over sites associated with the working classes. On the flip side, however (and to Bookpod’s point), wealthy Americans have tended to grow tired of their possessions quickly. The mansion on the old Billings estate (now Ft. Tryon Park), which housed dozens of servants, racehorses and cars, was sold by its owner after little more than 10 years, I believe. It finally burned down around 1917.

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks David. I’m glad you mentioned the Billings estate; here’s some great photos of this magnificent, short-lived mansion from myinwood:


    […] to, and for pics and […]

  9. The Gothic castle that once stood in Inwood « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] talking about Libby Castle, just about the most impressive mansion among all of the ostentatious 19th century estates built in this hilly stretch of Manhattan, kind of a rural retreat for the city’s […]

  10. Historic Inwood – The Seaman Drake Arch | Uptown Collective Says:

    […] to, and for pics and […]

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