In a city built of glass, brick, and stone, wooden houses are hard to spot in Manhattan. That said, some wooden houses have survived since their creation in the 18th and 19th centuries — when the city was mainly farmland. After the city became industrialized, these wooden houses were deemed hazardous, and new wooden-based construction was outlawed in Manhattan with the “fire limit” law of 1866. Thus, the few wooden structures that remain in New York City are extremely rare. Here are the 10 remaining wooden buildings that you can still spot in Manhattan:
1. Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace (1765)
British colonel Roger Morris built this haunted Federalist-style mansion in 1765. Today, it is Manhattan’s oldest house. From a distance, the Morris-Jumel Mansion 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 to 1865, but she apparently still lives in the mansion — as a ghost. Keep a sharp lookout because her ghost is often sighted lurking on the balcony.