Posts Tagged ‘Kips Bay history’

The 1826 country resort still there on 61st Street

January 22, 2012

When this Georgian-style stone carriage house—built in 1799 on today’s 61st Street off of York Avenue—became the Mount Vernon Hotel in 1826, it must have been a beautiful place for a country vacation.

“The Hotel advertised itself as ‘free from the noise and dust of the public roads, and fitted up and intended for only the most genteel and respectable’ clientele,” reports the Colonial Dames of America.

“In those days, one could take the stagecoach or steamboat up to 61st street and spend the day at the hotel sipping lemonade in the ladies parlor or playing cards in the gentlemen’s tavern.”

The hotel, complete with a one-mile racetrack, didn’t exist very long.

In 1833, it was sold and made into a country house for the Towle family (left; below, 61st Street and the East River).

Family members occupied it into the 1900s, by which time the area had become crowded and industrial, in the shadow of the new Queensboro Bridge.

Today it’s a historic site called the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Gardens—formerly the Abigail Adams Smith Museum, named after President John Adams’ daughter, who with her husband built the carriage house before the 19th century.

[Middle and bottom photos: from the Colonial Dames of America, which runs the museum]