Take a stroll back to the late 1800s and early 1900s to see some of the stately Fifth Avenue mansions that let their wealthy owners call this Manhattan street home.
Hop a bus, take a car / Hail a cab and there you are
On Fifth Avenue (old Fifth Avenue)
Ev’ry Joe, ev’ry Jane / Walks along that dreamer’s lane
On Fifth Avenue (that’s Fifth Avenue)
Where they stop, window shop, and their hopes are so high
Pricing rings, pretty things that they can’t afford to buy
But they smile, they don’t care / Ev’ryone’s a millionaire
When you’re strolling on Fifth Avenue
(From “Fifth Avenue,” lyrics & music by Mack Gordon/Harry Warren)
Palatial homes and hotels of upper Fifth Ave. (1904)
from Fifth Ave. Presby. Church, N., to Central Park, New York
The old John Jacob Astor residence (1893)
This mansion, located at 840 Fifth Avenue, New York City, was the home of millionaire businessman John Jacob Astor IV, who died when the Titanic sank. You might also know the Astor name from the famed old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Home of Mr & Mrs Cornelius Vanderbilt II (1896 & 1894)
Here are two views of the enormous house that belonged to the Vanderbilt family in the late Victorian Era.
Cornelius’ granddaughter was Gloria Vanderbilt — the jeans fashionista and designer — which makes him Anderson Cooper’s great-grandfather.
Home of William K Vanderbilt (1903)
This old picture shows a street view of the William Kissam Vanderbilt residence, which was at 660 Fifth Avenue, New York City. William Vanderbilt was the brother of Cornelius, whose home is shown above.
Twin Vanderbilt houses – The family’s old mansions (1915)
These two homes were also known as the “Marble Twins,” and were built by William H Vanderbilt. His daughters, Emily and Margaret, lived with their families in these relatively small (and less luxurious) houses.
Along with William Vanderbilt’s adjacent home (shown above) the three properties were known as the “Vanderbilt Triple Palace.”
Residence of Mrs Paran Stevens
The 244 5th Avenue New York City home of the society leader Marietta Reed Stevens (photo from 1894)
Residence of Andrew Carnegie at 5th Ave. and 91st St., New York, N.Y. (c1920)
Residence of Mr H O Havemeyer
Home of Commodore Elbridge T Gerry (5th and 61st Street)
Homes with a beautiful view of Central Park
Fifth Avenue looking north at 67th Street, showing the residences of George J Gould, Thomas F Ryan, Mrs Joseph Stickney, Daniel Gray Reid, and Francis Burton Harrison.
William A. Clark House, or “Clark’s Folly” in 1910
This 5th Avenue mansion of former Senator William A Clark reportedly cost $7,000,000 to build — about $205 million in 2022 dollars. Construction started in the late 1800s, and although it was finished enough to be featured in magazines in 1905, it was considered to be complete in 1911.
The 121-room home was not around for long. Just two years after the Senator’s death in 1925, the Clark Mansion was demolished to make way for a fancy apartment building.
ALSO SEE: 16 beautiful Victorian homes & mansions in old Detroit from the early 1900s
W V Lawrence residence
Mansion home located at 969 Fifth Avenue in New York City (photo from 1891)
Mansion home of Mr Griswald, 5th Ave., New York City
Located at 857 Fifth Avenue — at the northeast corner of 5th and 67th Street. Home number 858, next door, was the residence of Thomas F Ryan.
MORE: Spreckels Mansion in San Francisco: See the luxurious old home of sugar magnate Claus Spreckels (1897)
Alexander Turney Stewart mansion at 34 5th Avenue
This large home was built around 1869, by architect John Kellum (photo from 1899)
Henry C Frick’s residence – Fifth Avenue (1915)
This hope occupied the site of the Lenox Library, between 70th and 71st Streets. At the left is Mr Frick’s art gallery, which contained one of the finest private art collections in the world.
John B Cornell and Manton marble residences (1889)
This is the Isaac Brokaw mansion, designed by Rose & Stone, with an apartment house in the background. The New York City mansion was located at 5th Avenue and East 79th Street, and was demolished in 1965. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2010)
House of Collis P Huntington
Residence of Charles de Rham – 24 Fifth Avenue (c1915)
August Belmont’s house and art gallery in old NYC (1894)
Old New York residence of the late A. T. Stewart (1800s)
Mansion residence of Eugene Delano (Fifth Ave and Washington Square North, NYC)
John G Wendel House – 5th Avenue mansion in NYC (1915)
High-class homes on upper Fifth Avenue above 60th street (1916)
Fantastic mansions line Fifth Avenue, with crowds strolling on a Sunday
It’s a darn shame that there was so little regard for the history and stunning architecture that these beautiful homes represented. Sadly, during the 30’s thru the 70’s, we failed to appreciate the treasures contained within our nation’s major cities, so we allowed these magnificent buildings to be demolished and then replaced with some of the most mundane, nondescript, boring box buildings with little to absolutely no architecture value whatsoever. Henceforth, many of our cities’ older buildings are actually quite ugly and are seen as a blight to the skylines of those same cities. Thankfully, character is once again being introduced into many of our newest buildings, but in a completely different style that mixes the ultramodern with an often unique take on styling from the mid to late 1800’s.
I definitely agree with everything you said I think it is a terrible loss in he name of progress. Now city are saving the exteriors of this architecture in cities like Dallas and New Orleans, it’s a shame they did not think to do this sooner!
Well said, Jeffrey. A “New Urbanist” enthusiast watching from the Netherlands, I feel utter sorrow, disbelief, and horror that Americans eliminated so much of their cultural heritage and history by raising these architectural gems. American cities before WW II must have tantalised the senses with their eclectic collections of magnificent buildings. Nowadays, so little of architectural value remains. Albeit a Dutchman, I grew up in Palo Alto, and I recall with sadness that the city replaced countless Victorians in the downtown area in the ’70s with ugly construction. The only reminder remaining of those stunning creations is a rock with a plaque describing what once stood. (Who would travel to Palo Alto to look at plaques on rocks?)
Well, albeit, sadly said.
My family resided [long before I was afoot] at 890-5 5th Avenue. I would love to see a photo of the home. They lived at this address from about 1885-1915. Marta Sjo Shelton and her husband Alfred Shelton.