|Family members assembled on the split staircase for a photograph. Apparently no one thought to remove the carpet which was airing from a third floor window. from the collection of the New York Public Library|
Jacob Janse Schermerhorn arrived in New Netherland in 1636. His descendants would become among the oldest and wealthiest families in New York City. William Colford Schermerhorn spent much of his life in the family mansion at No. 6 Great Jones Street which, following his parents' death, his wife, the former Ann Elliott Huger Cottonet, made a center of lavish entertaining.
|Lienau's rendering for the Schermerhorn house (above) was extremely similar to that of the Schiff residence. collection of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library|
The mansion sat on two plots--Nos. 49 and 51 West 23rd Street. Three bays wide, it was accessed by a split staircase. Each story was defined by an intermediate cornice, and stone quoins lined the three vertical sections. Directly above the entrance, a pair of French doors, crowned by a classical pediment, opened onto a stone balcony. The New York Herald described the residence broadly, saying:
The house is a very large and handsome one, occupying three [sic] lots of ground. It is red brick, four stories high, with attics and with brown stone trimmings; it has a high stoop and elegant stone balconies.
On Friday Mrs. William Schermerhorn, 49 West Twenty-third street, gave one of the largest and most recherche receptions of the season. Among the ladies present, noticeable for their rich and stylish toilets, were Mrs. Gracie King, Mrs. [Mary] Mason Jones, Mrs. Hamilton Fish, Mrs. Coventry Waddell, Mrs. Samuel Failes, Mrs. Cutting and Miss King.
|The transformation of the once-elegant block is evidenced in this photograph. The Schermerhorn house can be glimpsed at the right. The Eden Musee next door was a wax museum and music hall. from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York|
|from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York|