Document Type



Fall 1990


Syracuse University Special Collections, Collis P. Huntington Papers, architecture, Gilded Age, George B. Post




American Art and Architecture | American Studies | Architectural History and Criticism


In 1889 railroad millionaire Collis P. Huntington (1821-1900) and his wife Arabella (d. 1924) purchased a large property on the southeast comer of New York's Fifth Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street, the most fashionable residential neighborhood of the period, and undertook to build there another of the great stone piles that constituted the habitats of the very rich during the city's Gilded Age. Aspects of the history of the Fifty-seventh Street Huntington mansion have been recounted, but supplementary information about its decoration and about the artists and craftsmen who embellished it can be found in the George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University, where the Collis P. Huntington Papers (105 linear feet) are preserved. Among the papers are unpublished documents—ledgers, letters, contracts, lists, certificates of payment, etc.—relating chiefly to expenses for the construction and the interior decor of the Fifth Avenue residence that was designed and built by George B. Post, one of nineteenth-century America's most important architects. Post's architectural practice can be reconstructed in part from office job records and other material in the New York Historical Society. By piecing together documents from that collection and from the Huntington Papers at Syracuse, we can enlarge the picture of what it took to put together one of the more opulent Manhattan residences of the 1890s.


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