In a city built of glass, brick and stone, wooden houses are hard to spot in Manhattan these days. That said, some wooden houses have survived throughout the years from the 18th and 19th centuries. These houses were built back when the city was mainly farmland. When the city became industrialized, these wooden houses were deemed hazardous and new construction in wood was outlawed in 1866 on the island of Manhattan with the “fire limit” law of 1866. Thus, the few that remain in New York City today are extremely rare. Here are the ten of the most remarkable, charming wooden homes ordered from oldest to youngest that you can still spot in Manhattan: 

12. Morris-Jumel Mansion (1765)

This haunted Federalist style mansion was built in 1765 by British colonel Roger Morris and is in fact Manhattan’s oldest house. From a distance, it looks like a stone house, but the exterior and frame are made of wood. Originally, the home was a 130-acre farm that stretched from the Hudson to the Harlem River. This mansion was built as a private summer home which explains why this home is tucked away in Washington Heights, originally isolated from any neighbors.

This house served as George Washington’s headquarters during the American Revolution and was the location of the first Presidential cabinet meeting. In addition, Aaron Burr and Madame Eliza Jumel lived in this mansion. Jumel was one of the wealthiest women in New York and resided in the mansion from 1810-1865, but she apparently still lives in the mansion, haunting it! Keep a sharp lookout because her ghost is often sighted lurking on the balcony.

The Morris Jumel Mansion is located at 65 Jumel Terrace, 10032.

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2 thoughts on “12 of the Last Remaining Wooden Houses in Manhattan

  1. In my comments, I left out the words ‘usually’ and ‘nearly:’
    Replacement siding on a stripped building USUALLY requires the replacement of all exterior trim boards because it is NEARLY impossible to keep them as the wood siding is removed.
    My apologies.

  2. Aluminum Siding was not available in the 19th century. Monumental aluminum architectural elements were used with increasing frequency from the early 1900’s. However, aluminum siding was not introduced for the domestic market until the late 1930’s.

    It is generally considered very destructive when used on older and antique homes. The vinyl can trap moisture against the antique siding or shingles, and the air vents in the vinyl siding are far to small to allow the circulation of air to dry out the interior space. If the antique siding is stripped off, then the problems simply move to the interior of the frame wall. Exterior demolition is expensive, adding to the replacement siding costs. Replacement siding on a stripped building requires the replacement of all exterior trim boards because it is impossible to keep them as the wood siding is removed. Depending on its paint history, the torn off old siding may be classed as ‘hazardous material due to the lead paint, which would have been encapsulated by a new paint job. All these problems add to the expense.

    In addition, a good siding job can cost as much as a two good pain jobs. Finally, paint companies have developed paint for both aluminum and vinyl siding because both fade and look shabby about the time you’d need to paint your house if you had not used metal of vinyl siding.

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