The New York to which Stanford White returned late in 1879 was a city of two, three and four stories, red brick and brownstone fronts, with perhaps a dozen passenger elevators in the downtown business and financial districts. The New York telephone directory was a card listing 252 names; there were no telephone numbers; you simply gave the operator the name of the person you wanted; service, costing as much as $20 a month, was slow, inadequate and limited to persons of wealth. Electric lights were unknown. Kerosene and gas supplied what (and it was not much) illumination there was. Matches, made with brimstone, and used to light the vilest cigars, almost choked you with their poisonous fumes. Offices, stores and residences—since there were no furnaces—were kept warm with big round stoves called Base Burners. The streets and avenues were lined with sycamores, poplars and telegraph poles. The trains and carriages were horse-drawn—with an extra horse to help out going over the hills. Men wore paper collars and cuffs and dickies: coats stopped abruptly at the hips: trousers were skin tight.
KeywordsElectric Light Intimate Friend Country House Telegraph Pole Financial District
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- 1.Today only two of these Indians are left on duty in New York City—one at 109 Third Avenue; and the other on Amsterdam Avenue just below 145th Street.Google Scholar
- 2.William Rutherford Mead, son of Larkin Goldsmith and Mary Jane (Noyes) Mead, was born at Brattleboro, Vermont, August 20, 1846. The next year, on August 24, Charles Folien McKim was born to James Miller and Sarah Allibone (Speakman) McKim, at Isabella Furnace, Chester County, Pennsylvania. White, as already stated, was born in 1853.Google Scholar