In 1855, former Congressman and New York State Attorney General Thomas J. Oakley erected two narrow, Anglo-Italian houses at 65 and 67 East 19th Street, directly behind his own mansion on Gramercy Park. Each two bays wide and four stories tall, they were clad in brownstone. The openings within the rusticated first floor were fully arched. Those on the upper floors were segmentally arched and wore handsome molded lintels. The two residences shared a continuous cornice.
Living here by the mid-1890's was designer W. Howard Bartle, who specialized in book covers. Like many financially-comfortable men and women in the 1890's, he enjoyed bicycling, and in May 1897 the Cyclist's Touring Club Gazette he had joined the world-wide organization. Based in England, the club was open to amateur cyclist world-wide. He remained here at least through 1900.