5. Lamartine Place Historic District, Chelsea, Manhattan
Lamartine Place Historic District is a collection of 10 homes located on West 29th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, notable for its connection with the Underground Railroad. In particular, the Abigail Hopper Gibbons House at 339 West 29th Street is Manhattan’s last known Underground Railroad junction. The Gibbons family were abolitionists even before the Civil War and opened their home to others sympathetic to the cause. It is reported that William Lloyd Garrison dined there with an escaping slave.
During the Draft Riots of 1863, the house was attacked and burned. Two of the Gibbons daughters managed to escape through the roof onto adjacent properties and finally into a carriage on 9th Avenue. The current owner has been trying to build a penthouse atop the building for the last five years, facing staunch protests. The latest news is that he’ll have to get Landmarks approval retroactively.