Monday, November 17, 2008

Hopper-Gibbons Safe-House Gets Reprieve

The Underground Railroad Free Press reports on the good news about the Hopper Gibbons home:

In October, a group of neighbors and local historians secured a last-minute reprieve for the only documented Underground Railroad safe-house in Manhattan Borough of New York City. The current owners of Hopper-Gibbons House had sought to substantially modify the building and the City of New York had mistakenly issued a work permit for the changes. The group's efforts got the permit revoked after a city review found that the architectural plans violated building and zoning codes. The home, located at 336 West 29th Street in Manhattan, dates from 1847 and was purchased by Quaker abolitionists Abigail and James Gibbons in 1851. The Gibbons home is part of an elegant two-block oasis of townhouses built as a piece in 1847 and known as Lamaratine Place at the time.

Mobs of the 1863 Draft Riots, which lynched blacks and attacked the homes of abolitionists, assaulted the Gibbons home, threw furniture out the windows and set fire to several rooms. Gibbons daughters Lucy and Julia escaped only by scrambling over rooftops to the neighboring Hebrew Orphans Asylum.

For more info, visit the Underground Railroad Free Press.

For a video of Hopper-Gibbons and Fern Luskin, please click here.