The Deed to Horn’s Hook, Future Site of Carl Schurz Park
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This 1784 agreement settles the estate of William Waldron, selling 30 acres of land to Abraham Duryee in the Out Ward of New York City. This parcel, along with the neighboring parcel that held Gracie Mansion, official home of the Mayor of New York, would both become part of Carl Schurz Park in 1910. [RICHARD VARICK].
Manuscript Document Signed by Adolph Waldron and Christina Waldron with Richard Varick signing as Recorder of Deeds and Adrian Kissam signing as witness. New York, N.Y., June 24, 1784. 4 pp., 17 x 22 in.
“All that Piece or Parcel of Land situate lying and being in Harlem Division of the Outward of the City of New York aforesaid on which William Waldron deceased lately lived beginning at a certain rock at the water side thence running 76 degrees west twenty eight chains fourteen links (1,857’), to a stone marked W, thence south forty eight degrees east two chains ninety four links(194’), thence south seventy-six degrees east ten chains (660’) to a large chestnut tree thence south fifteen degrees west four chains and fifty five links (300.3’), thence south fifty eight degrees east thirteen chains eighty-five links (914’) thence north forty-one degrees and thirty minutes east twelve chains seventy six links (842’) to a stone marked w at the waterside thence north thirty nine degrees west three chains nineteen links (210.5’) then north nine degrees east three chains 61 links (238’) thence north thirty seven degrees west two chains sixty five links (175’) thence south sixty seven degrees thirty minutes west two chains (132’) thence north thirty-one degrees east five chains 88 links along (388’) the water side to the beginning, bounded northerly and westerly by the land late of said William Waldron deceased southerly by the land of Mr. Jacob Walton and other land of said William Waldron deceased and easterly by the land at Hell Gate Cove or Horn’s Hook, containing thirty acres and an half and one square rod be the same more or less as by the survey thereof made by Jonathan Landon and dated the thirteenth day of October in 1767 reference being there unto said may appear together with all and singular the houses, outhouses, buildings, barns stables, gardens, orchards, fences, enclosures, woods, underwoods, timber, trees, waters, water-courses, springs and wells of water. Profits, Privileges, advantages, emoluments, hereditaments, and appurtenances, whatsoever to the said piece or parcel of land belonging or in any wise appertaining.
[signed]: Adolph Waldron/Christina Waldron”
[In Richard Varick’s hand]:
“the words Walton, decd, in the thirty sixth line of the first page being first written on an erazure before Executers.
[signed]: Richard Varick
[signed]: Adrian Kissam”
Jacob Walton, whose land bordered this parcel to the south, built the elegant Belview Mansion on Horn’s Hook (now known as Carl Schurz Park) in 1774. It occupied a prominent hill overlooking the East River and Hell Gate, the marine bottleneck between the waters of Long Island Sound, Randall’s Island, and the East River. George Washington commandeered this strategic location, along with the house, during the Revolutionary War, and the British subsequently bombed it flat in 1776. In 1799, shipping magnate Archibald Gracie acquired the land, which included the original house’s ruins, and built another mansion. He used the country home until he was forced to sell it to pay debts in 1823. In 1896, the city of New York appropriated the mansion and its grounds to incorporate into Carl Schurz Park. The main house served at various times as public restrooms, an ice-cream stand, and classrooms until 1924, when it housed the Museum of the City of New York, and from 1936 until 1942, when the city showcased it as a historic house museum. In 1942, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced the city to make it the official mayoral residence under Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia.
Richard Varick (1753-1831) was a lawyer and politician. He became Captain of the 1st New York Regiment under General Philip Schuyler in June 1775 and deputy muster-master general in September 1776. He was appointed Inspector General of West Point, and then served as Secretary to George Washington. He was the recorder of Deeds for New York between 1784 and 1789, and in that capacity signed this deed. He became mayor of New York City in 1789 (until 1801) after having served for two years in the New York State Assembly.
David Dunlap, “In Drawing, Guide to Past of Gracie Mansion Site.” http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E4D61138F930A15753C1A9619C8B63