Friday, March 18, 2022

The 1926 Frank G. Shattuck (Schrafft's) Building - 43-49 West 22nd Street


In 1898, Frank Garrett Shattuck opened an ice cream and candy store on Broadway, opposite the New York Herald Building.  The candies were made by W. Schraftt & Sons of Boston.  He opened a store in Syracuse, New York in 1906, and another at Broadway and 34th Street.  The same year he joined forces with George and William Schrafft, sons of the candy firm's founder, and Shattuck incorporated the Frank G. Shattuck Company to exclusively handle the Schrafft operation.

The business expanded from ice cream and candy into the restaurant business.  The New York Times later said "Remembering the neatness and cleanliness of his mother's farm kitchen and also some of the bad meals he had eaten in restaurants while a traveling man, [Shattuck] insisted upon cleanliness and quality as cardinal virtues in his organization.  The Schraftt stores prospered and others were opened in rapid succession." 

Frank G. Shattuck, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 10, 1925

The Schrafft's bakery and confectionery shop was located on West 22nd Street, steps away from Sixth Avenue.  On August 2, 1919 the Real Estate Record & Guide wrote that the expansion of the shopping district was reflected in "the purchase by Schraffts' of property abutting their present home at 47 and 49 West 22nd street."  And yet only six years later, the firm's continued growth demanded a larger, modern structure.

On June 27, 1925, The Sun reported that Schrafft's had announced plans to "erect a thirteen story factory building" at 43-49 West 22nd Street.  Technically, the firm was the Frank G. Shattuck Company, which, explained by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "operates the chain restaurants and candy stores in New York, Boston and Syracuse under the name of 'Schrafft's.'"

The proposed building would house the Schrafft's bakery and candy making operations.  It was designed in the Art Deco style by Russell G. Cory, senior partner in the architectural firm of Cory & Cory.  Known for his use of colorful tiles, the Frank G. Shattuck building would not disappoint.  Between the second and third floors, boldly colored tile decorations adorn the full-height piers.  At the same level, mossy green tiles stand in for an intermediate cornice in separating the building's base from the central section.

As the building rose, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle explained the scale of the work to be done here.  "That the company is a success is evidenced by the fact that it serves 60,000 men and women daily at breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea and dinner.  It served 18,780,000 meals last year."  The article went on to say that in 1924 the company used 4 million eggs, 1.5 million pounds of chicken, 200,000 pounds of ham, 650,000 heads of lettuce. 10.6 million quarts of milk, and so on.

Construction was completed in 1926, and the Frank G. Shattuck Company listing statement of New York Stock Exchange in 1927 noted that it "is now in full operation.  In addition to the manufacture of candy and ice cream, the Company maintains at this location a large bakery, commissary department and laundry."

Although all the Shattuck properties had been operated under the trade name of Schrafft's, it was not until 1929 that the two organizations finally merged.  The New York Times reported, "Mr. Shattuck relinquished the presidency of the company bearing his name and became chairman of the board of directors."  

Frank G. Shattuck died of pneumonia on March 13, 1937, three weeks before his 77th birthday.  The company continued to flourish and in 1954-56 a 10-story annex to the bakery building was erected at 48-54 West 23rd Street, designed by Walter Monroe Cory, younger brother of the original architect.

The firm survived in the building for two decades.  In 1972 architect Herbert Tannenbaum filed plans for interior alterations, and a new entrance and lobby.  Among the tenants here by 1984 was Photographics Unlimited.

The following decade architect Beverly Willis was commissioned to give the building another major interior remodeling of the second and third floors for the Manhattan Village Academy, which remains in the building today.  But despite the several changes, Russell Cory's striking Art Deco design "make the building particularly notable," in the opinion of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

uncredited photographs by the author has no authorization to reuse the content of this blog

No comments:

Post a Comment