Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sidonie Dittmarsch and family

A distant relative of mine who's collaborated with me in sorting out some difficult genealogical questions recently came up with a nice find. My small stash of old family letters includes a condolence from a grandmother, four generations back, to a woman named Sidonie.[1] The distant relative, Alexandra Shand, discovered that the recipient of the condolence was Sidonie Dittmarsch, mother-in-law of my great-uncle, Adolph Windmuller.

Adolph's wife was, in Alexandra's words, "the fascinating Caroline (Lilly) Thurn Hague Windmuller." Caroline had a sister, Clara, and a brother, Theodore. Her parents were Sidonie Dittmarsch Thurn and Leopold Thurn.

New York's newspapers of the second half of the 19th century show a "Prof. Leopold Thurn" as teacher of drawing and painting on one occasion and of German on quite a few others.[2] They also show a Leopold Thurn making trans-Atlantic voyages, but whether this Leopold was Caroline's father I cannot say. The 1880 Census gives more satisfying information. It records Leopold Thurn as head of a household containing "Lidonis" his wife, his three children, and a servant. The occupation of both husband and wife is given as "Childrens Furnishing Goods."[3] By 1901 Leopold may have died, for in that year Sidonie is recorded as hosting the reception for Caroline's wedding to my great-uncle at her (Sidonie's) townhouse at 30 W. 36th St.[4] A year later Sidonie is recorded as leasing her townhouse to a tenant — none other than the famous Finley Peter Dunne.[5]

{New York Times, November 27, 1902}

I know nothing about Leopold Thurn's origins. Sidonie's father, Albert Ludwig Dittmarsch, was a merchant in Dresden, Germany. Her mother, Emilie Karoline Ranft, was the daughter of a Protestant pastor. Her brother, Emil Dittmarsch, was a the Philadelphia manager of a Milwaukee malt company.

Sidonie was 23 years old when she applied for permission to leave Dresden for the U.S. A quarter of a century later her name appears in diary of the piano manufacturer, William Steinway. He says he's had a New Year's call from her husband whom he refers to as "Mr. Thurn, husband of Sidonie Dittmarsch."[6] This phrasing suggests what I've suspected: that Sidonie had a somewhat larger impact on those around her than did Leopold.

By the time of Sidonie's death, in 1919, Caroline had become a successful and respected designer, maker, and seller of wedding gowns and other expensive women's clothing. The death notice says Sidonie was at a summer resort on the northern shore of the Long Island when her life came to an end.

{New York Herald, July 11, 1919}

In 1915 the Times had reported that Caroline had rented a summer place in the same location. There's no certainty that Caroline was in the same summer rental four years later, but it's entirely possible.
She rented this mansion or, possibly, another building on the estate.[7]

{Caption: Firwood, a Darien waterfront estate has 325 feet on L.I. Sound, a swimming pool, gardens and 4.84 acres in a one-acre zone. The estate remained in one family for 129 years. Inside Firwood, first built in 1860, and rebuilt and expanded 30 years later, are 14 bedrooms, nine baths and 13 elaborate antique fireplaces. Three living levels, with both walk-up attic and basement, the house features turrets, multiple chimneys and spectacular views. Source: Stamford Advocate, copied under fair use provisions of copyright law.}

Sidonie may or may not have put her husband in the shade; Caroline definitely put Adolph there. She had great talent, business acumen, and entrepreneurial ability while he was content to dally in finance and to drive about in her yellow Rolls Royce and other chauffeured vehicles.

After their marriage, he moved in with her (rather than their seeking a new home together or her moving into his place). A newspaper account some years after the wedding shows him to be living in 52 East 66th Street, a town house that her mother owned.[8] Here, via Google Street View, is what the building looks like today. Note that the lower part of No. 52 is obscured by a tree. (There's a view of the entryway here.)

View Larger Map
Caroline's sister, Clara, was married twice, first to a man named Patterson, then to George Anson Wilson.[9] Caroline likewise first married Ernest Hague, with whom she had two sons, and then married my great-uncle. I don't know whether, on re-marrying, either or both were widows or divorcées.

It's an oddity that men whose middle or last name is "de forest" recur in records and news accounts connected with Sidonie, Caroline, and the Windmullers. The 1880 Census records that Dewin Deforest, a 47-year-old salesman of dry goods, lived in the same building as the Thurns.[10] When Caroline and Adolph married in 1901, his best man was William De Forest Bostwick.[11] In 1903 the townhouse where Sidonie lived, 30 W. 36th Street, was leased first to Mrs. Nathaniel De Forest and then to Othniel De Forest.[12] Robert W. De Forest served with Louis Windmuller on civic committees and both were trustees of the Title Guarantee and Trust Co. (which Louis had helped to found).[13] Henry de Forest Baldwin served with Louis Windmuller as an officer of the Reform Club and he was one of the speakers at a ceremonial tribute to Windmuller given in the last year of his life.[14]

Finally, I should note that I have written before about my fascinating great-aunt:

Some sources:

I am indebted to communications from two descendants of my great-aunt Caroline as well as from Alexandra Shand for information contained in this blog post. See the sections on the Thurn-Dittmarsch family in my Windmuller genealogy for more on this subject.

Family Tree of Alexander R. Grässer and Birgit C. Karg for the Dittmarsch genealogy

Frauenwiki Dresden for Sidonie's travel to the U.S.

The William Steinway Diary, American History Museum, Smithsonian Institution

The Wine and spirit bulletin 1903, for Emil Dittmarsch

Long Neck Point, by Maggie Gordon for the Darien News, Feb. 1, 2010; about Collender's Point; points out that Andrew Carnegie spent summer vacations at the Brick House at roughly the same time Carolyn Hague was there.

John Alexander Joyce "John Alexander Joyce (1842-1915) Kentucky, Washington D.C., Missouri, Joyce, John Alexander, soldier, lawyer, poet, and biographer, b. Ireland, 1842; d. Washington, D.C. Jan. 1915."

Crimmins estate boasts vast waterfront

Firwood on the Sound Historical house on the market for $16.75 million on the Crimmins estate

Room for a Baker’s Dozen on the Crimmins estate

52 East 66th Street · Upper Eastside, NYC

Weddings of a Day, Dunne-Abbott, New York Times, December 10, 1902


[1] Here's the text of the condolence.
New York, January 16, 1865

My Sidonie

Please receive this my first letter to you and I intend to continue my correspondence from time to time if you are pleased to answer my letters. If I did not write to you I have only my excuse to offer except a hesitation to be the first to communicate.

Your last letter caused us sorrow for the death of your good Father when I looked at his picture so fine looking and healthy -- I thought he might live many years. your loss is great and only you as a loving daughter can know this and never let me tell you will you find his place filled. I know all this I have like yourself neither father nor mother and speaking for self concerning words from our parents to us when present ... will come to us when our loved ones are gone: you must try and sustain yourself for your family and I know you have a kind and loving husband, children Brother and Sister [to] take care of your health. I will expect a letter from you in due time My love joined with my daughters Joan and Hannah to your husband, yourself and children and all your family. I am with love and wishing all happiness, your

- Abby Lennington
[2] On "Prof. Leopold Thurn" see for example a display ad for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of September 20, 1865.

[3] "Furnishing goods" included shirts, socks, underwear, belts, scarfs, collars, and the like. One ad listed: "Boys' and Children's Furnishing Goods: Shirts, Waists, Blouses, Underwaists, Hose Supporters, Neckwear, Collars; all carefully selected and a profusion of styles and qualities that will make easy choosing." -- Muncie Morning News, April 14, 1900.

Here are the census records for Leopold and Sidonie:
Leopold THURN on
Census Place New York, New York (Manhattan), New York City-Greater, New York
Birth Year <1822>
Age 58
Occupation Childrens Furnishing Goods
Marital Status M
Race W
Head of Household Leopold THURN
Relation Self
Father's Birthplace GER BRAN.
Mother's Birthplace GER. BRAN.

Lidonis THURN
Census Place New York, New York (Manhattan), New York City-Greater, New York
Birth Year <1833>
Birthplace SAXONY
Age 47
Occupation Children Furnishing Goods
Marital Status M
Race W
Head of Household Leopold THURN
Relation Wife
Father's Birthplace SAXONY
Mother's Birthplace SAXONY
[4] Here is what a New York Times reporter had to say about the Windmuller-Hague wedding.

{New York Times, June 6, 1901}

[5] Finley Peter Dunne was famous for his character Mr. Dooley. Dunne's work is funny and quotable: "A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case." He was a Chicagoan but in 1890 he "moved to New York City, where he married Mary Abbott's daughter Margaret Abbott, had four children and continued to write books and articles. He died in 1936 in New York at age 68 of cancer." -- Finley Peter Dunne

[6] The entry reads: "New York, Jan'y 1st 1881. Saturday. Remain home all day, have quite a number of New Year Cards, and also calls among them Mr. Thurn, husband of Sidonie Dittmarsch of Dresden. Fred Steins and Carl Prox of Brooklyn take supper with us Measure children, Georges height 5 feet 6 inches his weight 127#. Paulas height 5 feet 4¼ inches her weight 110#. I weigh #191, and wife 160#."

[7] The place was on Collender's Point, in Noroton, Darien, Connecticut. It's possible that Caroline leased a smaller house on the property of the estate, but the report in the Times does not make that seem to be so: "Fish & Marvin have leased furnished for the Summer the Colonial House and three acres owned by John D. Crimins at Collender's Point, Noroton, to Mrs. A.C. Windmuller of this city." -- New York Times, March 18, 1915. For more information on the Crimmins place, see Excerpts from John D. Crimmins' Diary.
I like this view of the sound from the side porch.

{Source: Stamford Advocate, reproduced under fair use provisions of copyright}

[8] When Caroline was married to Afred Hague she had also lived in her mother's Upper East Side townhouse. See note 4 for mention of Sidonie's home at 52 E. 66th. Some details about the property are given in a NYT real estate offering: 52 EAST 66TH STREET. Here's the relevant part of a report on the mental condition of Adolph's father, my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller.

{New York Times, September 24, 1913}

[9] Caroline's sister marries for second time
NYT 20 Oct 1909

[10] Here's the record:
Name: Derwin Deforest
Home in 1880: New York City, New York, New York
Age: 35
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1845
Birthplace: Vermont
Father's birthplace: Vermont
Mother's birthplace: Vermont
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Salesman Dry Goods
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
It's surely irrelevant, but a popular poet of the time, Col. John A. Joyce, dedicated a poem to Derwin Deforest:
Jewels of memory. By Col. John A. Joyce (Washington, D.C., Gibson brothers, 1895) "The Voice of the Clock (Dedicated to Derwin De Forest, of New York.)
TICK, tick, the moments fly,
Tick, tick, we live and die.
Tick, tick, goes the hour,
Tick, tick, fades the flower.

Tick, tick, heart beats go,
Tick, tick, weal or woe.
Tick, tick, soon are fled,
Tick, tick, lost and dead.

Tick, tick, days and years,
Tick, tick, smiles and tears.
Tick, tick, wind and wave,
Tick, tick, grief, the grave.
[11] See note 4, above.

[12] Mrs. De Forest leases 30 W. 36th Street:

{New York Times, October 29, 1903}

[13] TITLE GUARANTEE AND TRUST CO., 176 Broadway, New York. Trustees: John Jacob Astor, Frank Bailey, E. T. Bedford, Charles S. Brown, Julien T. Davies. Robert W. de Forest, Robert Godot, Martin Joost, A. D. Jullliard, Clarence H. Kelsey, Woodbury Langdon, James D. Lynch. It. II. Macdouald, James H. Manning, Edgar L. Marston. William J. Matheson, Charles Matlack, William A. Nash, William H. Nichols, Robert Olyphant, Charles A. Peabody, William H. Porter, Frederick Potter, Charles Richardson, Henry Itoth. James Speyer, Sauford H. Steele, Paul M. Warburg, Ellis D. Williams, Louis Windmuller. -- Directory of directors in the city of New York (Audit Co., 1911)

[14] HONOR LOUIS WINDMULLER; Members of the Reform Club Praise His Long Services.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I recently heard from a woman whose home is not far from the place where my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller, lived for much of the nineteenth century.[1] I've written about this summer home of his quite a few times already.[2] The email she sent me links to a set of comments on a blog called Ephemeral New York. The subject of the post is a drypoint print by a highly-regarded artist named Martin Lewis[3] The print is called "Rainy Day, Queens" and it shows an urban scene having a broad street rising as it recedes. In the foreground pedestrians and a few cars occupy what is evidently a viaduct, overpass, or bridge and in the background there are apartment buildings on both sides of the avenue. Here's a small image of the print. You can see a larger view here.[4]

In readers' comments to the blog post you find speculation about the location of the scene which Lewis depicts. Most commenters believe it shows a viaduct over the Long Island Railroad in Long Island City or the nearby Sunnyside Yards. I favor this set of opinions.[5] On the other hand One commenter, with support from a couple of others, says the artist is standing on a street in Woodside and is facing the Sunnyside rail yards to the west. This commenter says the artist depicts a "crumbling bluestone sidewalk on Skillman Ave.," with Roosevelt Avenue to his back. "The crest of the hill," he says, "is the point where 54th Street zig-zags across Skillman."

This commenter, T.J. Connick, gives a link to a photo in NYPL's Digital Gallery. It's this photo that prompted the email message to me about my blog post. The writer, Deniz Hughes, points out that the photo shows property that was adjacent to the place owned by my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller.

Here's the photo. It shows the home of the Sussdorf family, who were not only the Windmuller's neighbors but also their friends. Louis Windmuller was twenty years younger than Gustav Sussdorf, but they held much in common. Both were born in Germany and had emigrated to America at a young age. Both were successful merchants who spent winter months in Manhattan and summered on their estates in Woodside. Both were religious converts who helped establish St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church at Woodside. Windmuller and Gustav's son William H. served many years as church vestrymen and their wives and daughters were active in the church's Sunday school and social activities. I've written about the two families before.[6]

{The accompanying description says: "54th Street (foreground, unpaved), between Roosevelt Ave. (left) and Skillman Ave. (right), showing in the foreground the G. Susdorff house from 1860-1873. It was gone in April 1925. In the background are homes on 52nd Street. The photo was taken in 1924. Source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

This detail from the photo shows the Sussdorf home.

This detail shows a row of houses on 52nd Street.

This is an obituary of Gustav Sussdorf.[7]

{Newtown Register, October 29, 1896}

This is a detail from a fire insurance atlas page. I've marked it to show where the photographer was standing. Note that the atlas reflects an earlier time; it was made a decade before the photo and a couple of decades before the print was made.

{Detail from Queens, Vol. 2, Double Page Plate No. 15; Part of Ward Two Woodside; [Map bounded by Kelly Ave., Woodside Ave., Greenpoint Ave., Thomson Ave.; Including Astoria Road (Highway to Calvary Cemetery) (Celtic Ave.), Middleburg Ave., Jackson Ave., Solon St., Mecke St.] 1908 updated to 1912, Atlas of the borough of Queens, city of New York, based upon official plans and maps on file in the various city offices; supplemented by careful field measurements and personal observations by and under the supervision of Hugo Ullitz. First and second wards: Long Island City and Newtown. Source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

This detail from a 1923 map shows the general area around the Windmuller and Sussdorf properties. I've marked it to show the rough location of the two houses, the school, and the photographer.

{Map of the borough of Queens. "Supplement to The Brooklyn Eagle Almanac, 1923." Williams Map & Guide Co. Source: Library of Congress}

This satellite image shows the location of the two houses and camera.

In the lower right of the satellite image, just below Doughboy Plaza, you can see a school, P.S. 11. Here is a photo of the school as it looked in 1925. The photographer was standing on the southwest corner of 56th St. and Woodside Ave. The trees to the right are on the lower part of the Windmuller property.

{"Woodside Avenue, at the S.W. corner of 56th Street, showing Public School No. 11. Taken by Percy Loomis Sperr, 1925. May be reproduced." Source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

NYPL has another photo showing the construction of 54th St. northward from Skillman Ave. in 1931, the same year Martin Lewis made his drypoint print. Here's a link to the image: Queens: 54th Street - Skillman Avenue (1931). The trees in the background of this photo are on the Windmuller estate. The Sussdorf estate is to the left, behind the apartment building and P.S. 11 is at right.

I see nothing in these photos to lend support to the thesis that the Lewis print shows this part of Queens. For more views of this part of Woodside, see a blog called Woodside, A Tour Through the Past, Present, and Culture of a Historic Urban Community. The blog was created by a student at SUNY Purchase named Janel Lloyd. In one section of the blog, Lloyd pairs photos of the area covered by the Sussdorf and Windmuller states. The pairs show what the place looked like in ca. 1940 and what they look like today. This screen shot shows one such pair and gives Lloyd's description.

{See Lloyd's "Denotation" page for source information. I'm using this screen shot under copyright fair use provisions.}

The photograph on the left, from ca. 1940, was taken from a position not far from the place from which the photograph of the Sussdorf house was made, but the camera was pointed further north in this case. The photo is similar to one taken from the elevated platform of the LIRR station at the corner of Roosevelt and Woodside Avenues. If you look closely, you can see Hell Gate Bridge on the horizon at left. Nearby buildings are single family homes, either in row houses or unattached. There are multi-story apartments in the distance, outside the bounds of Woodside.

The area around Woodside was, of course, urbanized, but the transition from rural farmland, to suburban single-family houses, to multi-story apartment buildings was a slow one. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, urbanization spread eastward through and beyond Long Island City, but some communities on its eastern border, like Woodside, nonetheless retained much of their rural or suburban character. This photo of a homestead in Maspeth, a mile and a half south of the Sussdorf and Windmuller homes, shows an old farmstead as it looked in 1929, just two years before the Lewis made the print.

{"55th Drive (foreground, along line of fence), north side, between 58th Street (right) and 56th Street (left), showing the Nicholas Covert house and outbuilding. This is one a set of four views taken on different occasions and from slightly different angles." September 1929. May be reproduced. Source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

NYPL has another photo showing the undeveloped nature of Woodside and its environs in the 1920s. One of them I've previously discussed.[8] Here's another.

{"Maspeth Ave., north side, between 55th and 56th Streets, showing a northwest view of the James Way farmhouse, last in a set of four pictures." 1924. May be reproduced. Source: NYPL Digital Gallery}


Some sources:

Know where this was?

Woodside, A Tour Through the Past, Present, and Culture of a Historic Urban Community


Ephemeral New York

NYPL Digital Gallery



[1] She's a Woodside resident named Deniz Hughes and she has an excellent blog called DenizBlog.

[2] The "Woodside" label in the list in the right hand panel leads you to posts on that subject. In particular note:
[3] Prints by Martin Lewis fetch a great deal at auction. One of the "Rainy Day" prints sold for more than $16,000 not long ago.

[4] I'd show a large version of the print, but I'm unsure of the copyright status of images made from it.

[5] This photo, from NYPL's digital gallery, gives a general idea of what I believe to be the area which the print shows. The photo shows an apartment building on only one side of the street, the sidewalk barrier at the right of the overpass is different, and of course the Lewis print does not show the Manhattan skyline in the distance. On the other hand the slope and the light fixture are right, so the artist may, as the commenter says, have been located at one of the neighboring overpasses in this area.

[6] On the relationship between Windmullers and Sussdorfs see the blog posts listed above and also Friedle women and three country homes.

[7] Here the obituary of Gustav Sussdorf's son, Louis Albert, from the New York Times. It's tempting to think that the Sussdorf's named him in honor of a son of Louis Windmuller, named Louis Adelbert or Albert, who died in 1872 age 10 days.
Louis Albert Sussdorf Former Stock Exchange Member Dies at Long Island Home.

Louis Albert Sussdorf, a retired member of the New York Stock Exchange, died on Sunday at his Summer home in Bridgehampton, L.I. The Rev. Ernest Sinfield of St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church, Flushing, will officiate at the funeral services this afternoon in Mr. Sussdorf's former residence at 144-51 Sanford Avenue, flushing. Born in Charleston, S.C., seventy years ago, Mr. Sussdorf became a member of the shipping firm of Sussdorf, Zalvo & Co. He formerly lived in Elmhurst, Queens.

Surviving are a widow, Mrs. Rebecca Moore Hyatt Sussdorf; two sons, Louis Sussdorf Jr., counselor at the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, and Ralph H. Susdorf of Orange, Calif., and two daughters, Mrs. Grace M. Thayer and Miss Elsie Purdy Sussdorf.

Burial will take place in Old St. James churchyard, Elmhurst.

-- New York Times, July 18, 1934
And here is the death notice for Gustav's wife, Jane: "Sussdorff. At Woodside, L. I., July 13, 1902, JANE M. SUSSDORFF, wife of the late Gustav, in the 76th year of her age. Funeral service at her late residence Tuesday, July 15, at four P. M. Carriages will be in waiting at station on arrival of 3:30 P. M. train from Long Island City. Interment at convenience of family. Charleston (S. C.) papers please copy." -- New York Herald, July 14, 1902

[8] It's the one I linked to above as being similar to the 1940 photo shown on Janel Lloyd's blog.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

dead man's curve

This magazine cover shows a Manhattan intersection called "Dead Man's Curve." The place got its name from treacherous conditions caused by cable-pulled street cars as they rounded the curve at the southwest corner of Union Square. The treacherous conditions arose from an idiosyncrasy of the cable system that was used in the 1890s: the cable's speed was just right for the straight passage up and down Broadway, but at the curve where Broadway turned onto the the square the pace was dangerously fast. The cable speed was constant; it was the curve that produced the danger. This illustration shows how pedestrians felt about the risks they took when crossing that intersection.

{'Dead Man's Curve'—New York's Most Dangerous Crossing, by W. A. Rogers (Harper's
Weekly, March 27, 1897); source: cdlib}

In 1907, my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller, noted that the Dead Man's Curve problem had been solved at Union Square and the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street had taken its place.[1] His letter to the editor on the subject is on the left. To the right is an excerpt from the article which he references.[2]

{On the left: "Perils of the Cruel City," New York Times, February 6, 1907; on the right: "Choate Argues for 14th St. Expresses," New York Times, February 1, 1907}

This photograph shows, at left, the "new" Dead Man's Curve on the southwest corner of Madison Park.

{Madison Square, New York, N.Y. (Detroit Publishing Co., taken between 1910 and 1915); seventh photo in a nine-part panorama set; source: Prints and Photos Div., Library of Congress}

This detail of that photo is marked to show the street car lines, the Seward statue, and, by white arrows, the path Louis Windmuller would take, walking north on the east side of Broadway. You can see a traffic cop in the intersection and quite a bit of traffic (though not nearly as much at the early hour when this photo was taken as there would be at noon and beyond).

This photo shows Broadway and Fifth Avenue as they separate from one another and proceed northward away from the park. Louis Windmuller would take the sidewalk on the west side of the park and then walk up the east side of Fifth Avenue, stopping at the Reform Club on 27th if he wished (he was a founder and, as its treasurer, had bought the building at 2 East 27th) and then on to his "winter" home on 46th.

{Madison Square, New York, N.Y. (Detroit Publishing Co., taken between 1910 and 1915); first photo in a nine-part panorama set; source: Prints and Photos Div., Library of Congress}

Taken 15 years earlier, this photo shows the intersection at bottom right, with the west side of the park at near left and, at far left, the passage of Fifth Avenue to the north.

{Manhattan: Broadway - 23rd Street (Brown Brothers, 1893); source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

This map shows Louis Windmuller's route from his office at 20 Reade Street to his winter home at 19 W. 46th, with the Reform Club, at 27th, in between. Both the 14th St. and 23rd St. Dead Man's Curves are shown in green. Windmuller was a famous walker. I've previously written about his walking, his office on Reade St., and his winter home on 46th.[3] I've also previously written about the block that's outlined in red.[4]

{Manhattan Hotels and Theaters Map, 1906; source: Library of Congress}

This is another view of the intersection, this time with the camera facing northwest. The photo was taken during a quiet moment in 1901 by William Henry Jackson, a well-known photographer working for the Detroit Publishing Co. (notice the three bicyclists, one of them a lady). The Fifth Avenue Hotel, at left, was owned by Amos Eno, a dry goods merchant who became a fabulously-wealthy real estate magnate. The Reform Club building on 27th had been Eno's home; was purchased from the estate at his death.

{Madison Square, New York, by William Henry Jackson, for the Detroit Publishing Co. (New York, 1901), first of three photographs making up a panorama; Prints and Photos Div., Library of Congress}

This photo shows the Dead Man's Curve at Union Square after electrification of the street cars. No one, including the lone (male) bicyclist, seems to be worried about the risk of injury.

{Lincoln Statue, Union Square, 1906; source: wikipedia}

This detail from a panorama photo shows the building owned by the Reform Club in 1911, just after the club had moved to new quarters in the financial district. The Club's address had been 2 East 27th Street, but the building is now identified as 233 Fifth Avenue.

{Detail from plate no. 24 in the book Fifth Avenue, New York, from Start to Finish (Welles & Co., 1911); source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

This panorama photo shows the block on the east side of Fifth Avenue just north of Madison Square and just south of the Reform Club location.

{Detail from plate no. 22 in the book Fifth Avenue, New York, from Start to Finish (Welles & Co., 1911); source: NYPL Digital Gallery}


Some sources:

DEADMAN'S CURVE REFORM.; New Traffic Regulations for the Benefit of Pedestrians, New York Times, January 10, 1905

Dead Man's Curve on

Union Square and the demise of 'Dead Man's Curve'

CHOATE ARGUES FOR 14TH ST. EXPRESSES, Appears Before Transit Board for Those Opposing 23d Street. MORE NEED AT 14TH STREET Metz Resolution on Bridge Subway Loop Opposed by the Mayor -- Committee to Confer with B.R.T., New York Times, February 1, 1907
"There would also be added danger at 'dead man's curve,' he went on, evidently under the impression that the curve was at Twenty-third Street. The term has been applied more generally at Fourteenth Street."

NOTED CITIZENS OUT FOR WALKING RECORD, Gaynor, Choate, Hornblower, Parsons, and Windmuller Form the Pedestrians Club, New York Times, February 7, 1913


IN THE REAL ESTATE FIELD, New York Times, March 18, 1910. "Reform Club Buys Building -- The Reform Club, through Louis Windmuller, Treasurer, purchased yesterday from the Cutting estate the building 9 South William Street, facing also on Mill Lane and extending through this lane to Stone Street. The building will be altered so that the club can use it as a midday luncheon club and for committee members to meet. Limited space will compel the club to restrict membership to a small number beyond the present roster."

A.R. ENO'S WILL PROBATED, It Disposes of an Estate Estimated at from $20,000,000 to $40,000,000. SMALL SHARE FOR SON JOHN C. All the Heirs Waive Citation and There Will Be No Contest -- Many Bequests Paid During the Testator's Lifetime Are Canceled New York Times, March 12, 1898. First para: "The will of Amos R. Eno was filed for probate with the Surrogate yesterday. Mrs. Antoinette E. Wood, a daughter of the testator, was the proponent, and in her petition she says that the value of the real estate and personalty is "not definitely known." The combined values are estimated to be between $20,000,000 and $40,000,000."


[1] The problem at Union Square had been solved by switching from cable-pulled to electric-powered cars.

[2] Eventually the City would decide that 14th Street should have an express stop; 23rd Street should not. Choate and Windmuller were acquaintances, probably friends. They served together on corporate boards (including the German-American Insurance Co.) and were walking companions, as evidenced by this article: NOTED CITIZENS OUT FOR WALKING RECORD, Gaynor, Choate, Hornblower, Parsons, and Windmuller Form the Pedestrians Club, New York Times, February 7, 1913

[3] Some blog posts on his walking, the office, and the 46th St. place:
[4] My two recent posts on 23rd St. between 5th and 6th are 23rd St. and New York Newsstand, 1903.