Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The William H. H. Moore House - 349 West 84th Street


Prolific Upper West Side architect Clarence F. True designed a row of five brick and stone rowhouses for developer Richard G. Platt in 1896.  Stretching from 349 to 357 West 84th Street, just steps from upscale Riverside Drive, they were designed in the Renaissance Revival style.  Completed the following year, the eastern-most house, 349 West 84th Street, was five stories tall, its American basement plan foregoing a high stoop in favor of a short flight of four steps.  True gave the first four floors a faceted front that provided additional light and ventilation to the front rooms.

The rusticated limestone base included a columned portico that provided a stone-railed balcony at the second floor.  Here French windows sat within a handsome Renaissance style frame of Scamozzi columns upholding a classical pediment.  An intermediate cornice introduced the fourth floor, where arched openings were crowned by scrolled keystones.  The fifth floor sat back from projecting facade, its rusticated stone face punctured by cruciform windows.

The 17-foot-wide residence was purchased by William Henry Helme Moore and his wife, the former Adelaide Louisa Lewis. Moving in with the couple was their unmarried son William Clifford; and their daughter Julia Louise Moore, her husband LeRoy Cholwell Fairchild, and their three children.  Another son, Arthur Lewis, was married to Sarah Frelinghuysen Chambers and lived in London, while daughter Adelaide Irving was married to well-to-do broker Elias Hicks Herrick.

Born in Greenport, Long Island in 1824, Moore was educated as an attorney.  He entered his brother's law firm, Cutting & Moore, in 1847, but he later changed course dramatically, pursuing a career in insurance.  He rose to the presidency of the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, retiring on April 7, 1897--the year the family moved into 349 West 84th Street.

The Moore house is at the far right of the row. 

Retirement did not mean inactivity.  Deeply concerned about charitable causes, he was president of the Haven's Relief Fund, manager of the Burke Foundation, and president of the Life Saving Benevolent Association.  In 1909 he was elected a director in the Society for Promoting the Gospel Among Seamen in the Port of New York.

The family's summer estate was in Greenport, Long Island.  The 1896 Portrait and Biographical Record of Suffolk County noted, "The Moore family has been represented on the island since 1630, and the old homestead on the North Road is now owned by William H. H. Moore."

On November 28, 1909, The New York Times reported that William and Adelaide Moore "have sent out invitations for the wedding of their granddaughter, Miss Adelaide Fairchild, to John Welles Arnold."  The article noted, "It will be a home wedding, followed by a small reception."

The following month, on December 28, William Henry Helme Moore caught cold, according to The Sun.  It developed into pneumonia and a week later, on January 4, 1910, the 86-year-old died.  The New York Times said that since his retirement he "had been in failing health."

The New York Herald reported on May 20, 1910 that the Henry H. H. Moore estate had sold 349 West 84th Street.  Nevertheless, the Handbook of the Municipal League listed Adelaide and William (who never married) still living here as late as 1914.

The family of insurance broker Harry H. Fuller lived here by 1920.  They were looking to replace a servant that year, advertising in the New York Herald on October 10, "Chambermaid-Waitress for family of 4; 3 maids kept."

Fuller was summoned for jury duty in high-profile bribery case of former State Banking Superintendent Frank H. Warder in 1920.  On October 21, attorney James I. Cuff asked Fuller "if the fact that Warder might not take the stand in his own defense would influence his judgment," reported The Standard Union.  

Fuller was frank.  "It certainly would influence my judgment.  I think he should take the stand."  The article said flatly, "Mr. Fuller was excused."

No. 349 West 84th Street remained a single-family residence until a renovation completed in 1966 resulted in a duplex apartment on the first and second floors, one apartment on the third, and two duplexes sharing the fourth and fifth floors.

photographs by the author
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