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Hall of Records: 1910

Circa 1910. "Hall of Records (Surrogate's Courthouse), New York, N.Y." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1910. "Hall of Records (Surrogate's Courthouse), New York, N.Y." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Building on the left

Lenore, you may be right about that not being the eastern wall of the Tweed Courthouse. Here's a map I found of the site and what existed where the courthouse is now located, although most of it predates the 1910 photo.

The main article has a lot of facts about the renovation of the courthouse and the finding of human remains.

Building on the left?

What is the building on the left? I don't think it's the Tweed Courthouse - too far east and too tall. Where it was is now the park. What was it?

Law & Order

Spent many many hours in here combing old records. My best story. Old Records room - upper floor - Ask Joe the archivist about an 1852 case. He asks "Who was the defendant?" I tell him. 5 minutes later he is back with a dusty packet of paper, tied with a ribbon. Hand written pleading papers, with crumbling wax seal.

The also had the 1855 state census - in archival plastic to examine in the original - not micro film. There I found "William Tweed - Chairmaker".

Another floor held original wills, and letters of testament for the intestate.

19th century deeds - recorded by hand on microfiche - Crisp clear handwriting on the page in the morning, trailing off and oddly slanted on the pages by the afternoon.

If you are a Law and Order fan the Elm Street entrance was often used as a location for a mythical precinct. The interior with its magnificent dark brown marble was used frequently as well.

First floor you will find birth, death and some marriage certificates on microfilm - and the magnificent tax photos of 1939 - 1940 - a photo of every building in NYC available for $25. from the original negative after you've located a contrasty microfilm image, and submitted the block and lot.

They don't build 'em like this anymore.

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My Neighborhood

I grew up only a few blocks from here and still live nearby. My first savings account as a child was at the Emigrant Bank branch on Chambers Street whose sign is visible just over the roof of the Tweed Courthouse. My mom would walk me there to deposit whatever nickels and dimes I hadn't spent on candy.

It's interesting to see how Foley Square looked when there were still buildings where the park is now opposite the courts.

In the foreground

The renowned architectural firm McKim Mead & White was building its first skyscraper - the Manhattan Municipal Building, still standing today at 1 Centre Street (and named for David Dinkins). The reason that the basement looks like a subway station is that it is one - serving the J and Z lines. Its entrance is where the "that's not a knife" scene in Crocodile Dundee was filmed.

Still with us

and still operating in its original function! However the old Emigrant Savings Bank next door at 31 Chambers Street (peeking from the top of the photo) is soon to become residential.

Signs of the Time

Interesting to note that both Budweiser and "The Chief" newspaper are still with us over 100 years later having survived prohibition, depression, two world wars and many other calamities. Not so sure about Hubbs Paper and Twine however.

The trip across the street

Like many many thousands of others, I got my marriage license in this building. And like a few thousand of those thousands, I was married in the Manhattan Municipal Building, which appears here as the hole across the street. Alas, both buildings have long outlasted the marriage.

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