The doctor’s summer home on West 94th Street

Today, the rich and distinguished summer in the Hamptons. In the mid-1800s, they summered on the Upper West Side.

The “delightful palazzo” above was the summer mansion of Dr. Valentine Mott, the most prominent physician in 19th century New York—a pioneer of heart surgery who at the age of 75 helped Civil War battlefield hospitals implement anesthesia.

His year-round residence was on fashionable Gramercy Park. But when summer hit, he hightailed it to today’s West 94th Street and the former Bloomingdale Road.

Built in 1855, the country house “was at almost the farthest reach for summer residences away from the city,” according to Old New York in Early Photographs.

Today, the house would be smack in the middle of Broadway. Back then, this was the country; the Upper West Side as we know it today was a collection of estates and small villages in the mid-1800s, like Harsenville and Strycker’s Bay.

Dr. Mott died here in 1865—but his summer house lives on in a photo taken by French-born New York photographer Victor Prevost the year the house was built.

[Top photo: New-York Historical Society; second photo: Wikipedia

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7 Responses to “The doctor’s summer home on West 94th Street”

  1. Ricky Says:

    How long do you think it took the good doctor to travel from his Grammercy Park residence to his summer home in 1855?

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Not as long as you might think! He could’ve taken Bloomingdale Road, which began at Madison Square, all the way up to present-day 94th Street. Not knowing the conditions of the road, I’d guess maybe 2 hours?

  3. Zoé Says:

    I’m so glad people took these precious photos. Perhaps the French photographer did not take it for granted as much as local photogs.

    I love this stone wall.

    We kvetch about the changing City; imagine how these people felt in the space of their lives if they lived till old age!

  4. David H Lippman Says:

    Obviously gone, but what was the building’s fate?

  5. The 18th century farm lane preserved in a Riverside Drive courtyard | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] 91st and 92nd Streets, you can see faintly outlined blue lines going from the river to the former Bloomingdale Road—which opened in 1703 and offered access to and from the rest of Manhattan to this beautiful part […]

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