9. Henry Villard’s Townhouses

Lotte New York Palace Hotel

Born in Germany, Henry Villard immigrated to the U.S. in 1853 and became a prominent journalist and war correspondent reporting on the Civil War for the New York Herald and the New York Tribune. He purchased The Nation and the New York Evening Post before investing in railroads and steamships and eventually merging the Edison Lamp Company and Edison Machine Works into the Edison General Electric Company.

Villard commissioned Stanford White to design six townhouses on Madison Avenue at East 50th Street, which were completed in 1909. Designed in the Italian Renaissance style, the townhouses form a U shape around a courtyard that was meant to provide a space for carriages to turn around. White drew inspiration from the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome, among other 16th century palaces. According to a report by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, “Nowhere in New York City does there exist another unified group of brownstone residences of such magnitude as this cluster standing on Madison Avenue.” The Villard Houses are now home to the luxurious Lotte New York Palace hotel.