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A Sterling Reputation: 1906

A Sterling Reputation: 1906

New York circa 1906. "Gorham Co. building, Fifth Avenue and 36th Street." New headquarters, designed by Stanford White, of the noted silver-making concern. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Master Craftsmanship on Display

The beautifully pragmatic Gorham Co. manufactory and offices, located in Providence, provide the perfect complement to this eloquent tastemaker in NYC. I’m sure several associated personnel felt as if they had lived and gone to heaven. I can barely imagine the joy of traveling from one location to the other.


What I like is the shape of the dormers in the roof of the Decorators & Woodworkers firm called "B.F. Ruber & Co." (or something like that).


Why should I worry? It is over 100 years ago. But if the man in the middle steps off the plank, the man on the right is toast. Elementary physics. Health and safety eat your heart out. Enough material here for a convention.

Modified and Modernized in 1960

Architect Herbert Tannenbaum tried to persuade the owner to retain the original design. But, Mr. Tannenbaum said, "They told me 'Do it or we'll get someone else.' " More here.

"Look, Ma"

No nets. No harnesses or hardhats, either. A fellow better pay attention up there, because that first step's a lulu!

The stonework on the building is truly wonderful, though. I'm glad to see that it's still around, but I can't stand the facade it now wears!

Hear that sound?

Its Stanford White spinning in his grave. That poor, beautiful building didn't survive the "updated" facade treatment of the tasteless 50s/60s/70s. "Hey, hand me the angel stone."

Up In The Balcony

I thought it was interesting that despite some of the changes to the facade of this great building, the two balconies on the front and side still remain. I couldn't quite make it out in street view, but I am guessing that the "G" monograms are still there as well.

More construction pics

Love this building. Great proportions and not too heavy on the wedding cake clutter either. But it's the building under construction next door I dig. Wish there were more of these old construction photos somewhere to view. Methods, materials, tools.


Most of the Google Street Views that I see posted are in vivid colour. For a change, I thought I would send in the present day view in black and white. Perhaps a new Shorpy category: "Decolorized"?

Stanford White's artistry & the little building alongside

One is struck by the masterful detail of White's building: on the lower floors; near the top and on the roofline.

But one can't help but notice the work-in-progress on the attached building. What is it, 25 feet wide and several floors? Well at least they constructed a sort of pedestrian protective walkway! In the Manhattan of recent decades these go on for entire blocks.


This is a very precise and exquisite building. I like the upper two stories with their larger scale windows and that wonderful cornice. It looks like it extends out a good or 8 feet from the face of the building proper. I'd love to see a shot from the other side to see how he handled the cornice line along the shared property line.

Sad to see what's happened to the lower floors; wonder if the arches are still there waiting for someone to let them be seen again.

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