Map of the Glass House Farm Also the Schroepple, Ray, and other estates down to the Franklin and Robinson and the Widow Mary Clarke and Thomas B. Clarke.
1873 (dated) 33.75 x 38.5 in (85.725 x 97.79 cm)
A rare 1873 John Bute Holmes cadastral of part of the Manhattan (New York City) neighborhoods Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen. The map covers northern Chelsea from 27th street to the southern part of Hell's Kitchen at 42nd Street. It also covers from the Hudson River to 8th Avenue, in the process including the current mega-development of Hudson Yards. This is one of a series of 21 scarce maps drawn by Holmes between 1867 and 1875. Like all maps in this series it was independently issued, is quite large, and impressively detailed. The maps were intended to illustrate real estate holdings at a point in New York history when vast estates in central and upper Manhattan were being broken up and segregated among numerous heirs. This led naturally to countless legal battles, much of the litigation behind which, depended upon detailed cadastral maps like this one.
The current map illustrates the breakup of the Glass House Farm, as well as the estates of George C. Schroepple, George Rapelje, and Cornelius Ray. Some of these claims date to the early Dutch period of New Amsterdam, but were honored by the British even after the takeover. The breakup of the estates is detailed via tables in the upper right quadrant, where individual heirs and landowners are identified. Each is referenced by New York City record book and page number.
The map's namesake, the Glass House Farm, was a large farm situated between the Hudson River and Fitzroy Road (as shown on map) in today's West 30s. The unusual name, Glass House, refers to a short lived glass factory that was established on the location in 1754. There was also a nearby tavern of the same name that, at the time of the American Revolutionary War, was a popular roadhouse and inn. The street names on this map reflect the original owners of the farm.
This map is rare. The OCLC identifies only 2 other examples, one at the New York State Library, and another at the University of Wisconsin.
John Bute Holmes (March 31, 1822 - c. 1888) was an Irish civil engineer, city surveyor, and mapmaker based in New York City in the middle to latter 19th century. Holmes' father-in-law supplied funds for him to immigrate to America in 1840 and shortly thereafter, in 1844, he established himself in New York City. He briefly returned to Europe before once again settling in New York City in 1848. Apparently, according to several New York Times articles dating to the 1870s, Holmes was a man of dubious personal and moral character. He was involved in several legal disputes most of which were associated with his outrageous - even by modern standards - womanizing. Holmes seems to have been married to several different women at the same time and to have had an unfortunate attraction to exceptionally young women - one of whom, a girl of 16 who claimed to be his wife, sued him for 50,000 USD. On another occasion he was found guilty of killing Brooklyn policeman David Gourly with whose wife he "had been intimate." Despite his legal issues, Holmes was rumored to be a man of considerable means, with a personal fortune estimated between 100,000 and 500,000 USD - a significant sum in the late 19th century. His reputed wealth may or may not have derived from a serious of 21 important maps produced between 1867 and 1875 illustrating various New York City neighborhoods.
Very good. Some toning lower 3 inches or so. Repaired tears. Professionally backed on archival linen.