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White House Hotel: 1912

White House Hotel: 1912

October 15, 1912. "White House Hotel." The building at 156 Canal Street, New York, where John F. Schrank lived prior to his attempted assassination of Teddy Roosevelt the day before. Bain Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Below is the identical view from May of 2009. Many of these buildings' neighbors were razed for the Manhattan Bridge, which begins one block to the east.

Slice of heaven

Wow, a real slice of Americana!

Architectural Losses

The contribution by the Anonymous Tipster of "Canal Street Today" strikes a sad note in my heart to see the architectural loss of the facade of the old White House Hotel. While the neighboring buildings have mostly retained their character (cornice and windows), the facade of the White House Hotel has been stripped to complete sterile bareness. Undoubtedly, this reflects the priorities of the renovations over the years: the original opulent Second Empire styling would certainly have been expensive to maintain. Nonetheless, the Now-Then comparison is a worthy example of the need for historical preservation districts, IMHO.

Canal Street To-Day

Chinatown, indeed!

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The White House

The replication of the Presidential Seal on the top of the building is interesting. Pretty fancy for that neighborhood. But then, it is The White House.


I wonder what sort of business N. Shapiro was in.

Canal Street

I don't think it was a a Jewish neighborhood but a commercial street and many of the merchants were Jewish. Today it's Chinatown, Jake.

Hotel entrance

There's a separate doorway to the left of the bar with "Hotel Entrance" lettered on the glass above it. A similar one on the right is the entrance to the sign shop.

I could be wrong, but this looks like the Jewish part of town.

It all fits.

This looks like exactly the kind of place an early 20th century assassin would hole up in!

My kind of place

I like a hotel where you enter through the bar.

John F. Schrank, landlord

According to the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia: "His parents died soon after, and Schrank came to work for his uncle, a New York tavern owner and landlord. Upon their deaths, Schrank's aunt and uncle left him these valuable properties, from which it was expected he could live a quiet and peaceful life."

So I assume that he didn't mere live at the White House Hotel, he owned and operated the hotel and the tavern.

[Not quite. Schrank rented a $2 room at the White House. The tenement he inherited was at 433 East 81st Street; the saloon he ran was at 370 East 10th Street. - Dave]

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