The Jefferson Market Library, like a cat with nine lives, has been saved from the wrecking ball over and over. Built in 1877, it was originally the Jefferson Market Courthouse and was located next to a public market and a jail on 10th Street and Avenue of the Americas.
The Courthouse That Escaped The Gavel, an article in the Real Estate section of Sunday’s New York Times details its history and multiple close calls with demolition starting back in 1910 before there was a landmarks preservation law. It is basically through the efforts of the city’s Mayor Robert F. Wagner that the building remained standing and that the New York Public Library took it over in 1967. Later, in 1969 it was finally designated a part of the Greenwich Village Historic District and protected under the law.
I never knew about this magnificent building until the Sisters in Crime NY/Tri-State chapter started having its meetings there last year. It’s a fabulous building, a super high Victorian Gothic design with a rich history. Something I’m delighted has been preserved. So a big thank you to all those who fought to save it over the years, and to those who appreciate that the past should be remembered.
In addition to The Times article, you can find more photos and information about the Jefferson Market Library on the NYPL website.