Whose horses boarded at this 10th Street stable?

I’ve always been curious about the 19th century three-story stable at 50 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village.

Today, it’s a well-tended and enviable private house—who wouldn’t be charmed to come home to this lovely building every day? (Especially with the ghost of former resident Edward Albee hanging around.)

The stenciled letters over the stable doors hint at its past: “Grosvenor Private Boarding Stable.”

Considering that the circa-1876 Hotel Grosvenor was just down the block at 35 Fifth Avenue, it seems plausible that the stable was used by the hotel.

Perhaps it was a convenient place for hotel brass to keep horses for delivery wagons or for a private hansom cab for guests (like the ones seen outside the brownstone-and-balconied hotel in this 1890 photo).

Carriage Houses are still a thing in New York—this low-rise stretch of East 73rd Street has an entire block of them, and of course, these two Chelsea stables contain incredible history.

[Second photo: MCNY 2010.11.4277]

Tags: , , , , ,

14 Responses to “Whose horses boarded at this 10th Street stable?”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    Wonderful! I cannot wait to see it when I come to New York again! Good grief! What a lovely thing you do!!!

  2. Shayne Davidson Says:

    I don’t know whose horses were stabled there but I can tell you that a black Civil War Soldier from Delaware named Bayard Sorden (1840-1920) worked there in 1878, according to City directory records. Mr. Sorden’s rare identified photographic portrait, along with photos of 16 other men from his USCT company are part of an album given to his captain, William Prickitt. The album and photos were donated by the captain’s great granddaughter to the African American Museum of History and Culture at the Smithsonian.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Wow, amazing information, thank you. I believe African-American men often worked as coachmen in Gilded Age NYC. Perhaps Mr. Sorden was a coachman for the hotel and lived in the second or third floor of the carriage house?

    • Bob Says:

      I do not think so. However, one of the tenants who operated the private stable in the late 1870s was described in testimony in a lawsuit by a prior owner of the private stable as “a man named Miller, a colored man.” Perhaps Sorden worked as a stableman for Miller.

  4. Zoé Says:

    I’ve already waxed on about my love of both carriages houses & W.10th – but I don’t recall this building. (Ephemeral is required for noticing everything).

    Please somebody post the photo of this soldier Bayard Sorden written about in this thread by Shayne Davidson! (Otherwise I will look it up later…).

  5. Shayne Davidson Says:

    Here’s an article from NPR about the album. It has some of the photos but unfortunately not Bayard Sorden’s photo. Here’s an article from NPR about the album. https://www.npr.org/2016/09/21/494734329/family-heirloom-national-treasure-rare-photos-show-black-civil-war-soldiers

  6. Shayne Davidson Says:

    Bayard Sorden worked at the stable at 50 W. 10th, but he resided at 413 E. 83rd Street.

  7. peopleplaceswords Says:

    A friend lives at 136 West 24th St, and apparently this building was also used as a stable for horses. The ground floor has been substantially altered so the traces have been removed. In 1976, the original purchaser of the floor was informed of building’s original use. Horse sized freight elevator and wooden beamed ceiling give it away.

  8. Bob Says:

    A transcription of a legal action, a New York State court appeal, lists some of the occupants of the stables in the 1860s – 1880s. It was apparently NOT a *livery* stable with horses and stalls for rental, and typically attached to a hotel. As the sign indicates, it was a *private* stable, first for residents nearby and then for business tenants, and some horses and carriages were boarded there ancillary to the main tenants’ horses.

    1863 – Devoe sold to James Boorman Johnston, a businessman who erected a private stable for him and two friends, housing 13 horses, some carriages, and attended by 4 stablemen. Likely in 1875 it was rented out to operators of a private stable and was operated as rental property since.

    1879 – Johnston sold to his brother, John Taylor Johnston.

    1881 – 1883 – Henry S. Cate rented it for his milk wagon business, with 17 horses including boarders and 6-7 wagons.

    1885 – 1888 – Dean Osgood of the Kendall Manufacturing Company rented it for his soap business, plus boarded a butcher’s wagon and one other wagon. He stated that the “private boarding stable” sign in gold letters was there when he rented the stable.

    With respect to the legal action:

    In 1887, a prior owner of the lot, Moses Devoe, once a butcher doing business at Jefferson Market, was sued by the owner of the neighboring lot, Sarah C. Clarke (whose family had been sold its lot by Devoe). Clarke claimed Devoe had erected a stable on the lot contrary to a deed restriction forbidding a “nuisance.” Devoe lost and appealed; he won on appeal, since a prior owner could not be held responsible for a deed restriction once he had sold. In 1891, Clarke was listed in Real Estate Record and Builder’s Guide as the judgment debtor to Devoe, owing Devoe $667.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: