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NYC Landmarks Preservation

Germania Fire Insurance Company Bowery Building – Barber Shop Manufacturing Equipment – Pyramid Sign Co – 357 Bowery

© Frank H. Jump

Built 1870; architect, Carl Pfeiffer; builder, Marc Eidlitz

© Frank H. Jump

Designed by a prominent German-American architect and built in 1870, the Germania Fire Insurance Company Bowery Building recalls the time when the Bowery was a major thoroughfare of America’s leading German-American neighborhood. Known as Kleindeutschland, this neighborhood was home to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers of German descent, and was “in fullest bloom” when this building opened.

The Germania Fire Insurance Company was founded in 1859, counting many prominent German-born New Yorkers among its executives and directors; the firm was prospering when it constructed this building to house its Kleindeutschland office, although it moved this office farther up the Bowery after little more than a decade. The building housed tenants from the time of its opening, and by 1880, its residents included Irish, German, and Chinese immigrants. Between 1900 and 1920, industrial tenants displaced its residents, and in 1929, the building was purchased by members of two families who manufactured barber-shop and beauty-parlor equipment in the building into the early 1970s. Residents started returning by the mid-1970s, and today, the building is entirely residential. – NYC Landmark  Preservations Committee 

Barber Shop © Frank H. Jump

Pyramid Sign Co. © Frank H. Jump

Pyramid Sign Co. © Frank H. Jump

Coy, Disbrow & Company Revisited – Greenwich Village, NYC

© Vincenzo Aiosa

These three five-story, brick-clad structures were originally constructed c. 1868-69 as tenements, with ground-story commercial spaces, for David and William H. Millemann, provisions dealers.D. & W. H. Millemann, as well as their father’s provisions firm, D[iebold]. Millemann & Son, only used these buildings, as well as the adjacent pork packing plant building at No. 692 Greenwich Street (1868-69) [see] that they owned, until 1870 when they were declared bankrupt. David Millemann, a director of the West Side Bank, was indicted in 1872 for “fraudulently securing… barrels of pork… and within a period of three months of committing acts of bankruptcy.” The Millemanns sold No. 692 and Nos. 686-690 Greenwich Street in 1871 to Charles White of Charles White & Co., hog butchers located at the “foot of 40th Street.” The White Estate retained these four buildings until 1902. No. 692 and Nos. 686-690 Greenwich Street remained under joint ownership until 1952.

Edesheimer Bros., manufacturers of cider, vinegar, and pickles operated by Isaac Edesheimer (died 1918) and Michael Edesheimer (died 1915) was located in these buildings c. 1885-93; this firm also declared bankruptcy several times (Michael Edesheimer later worked for the Fleischmann Co. nearby). At the time of the sale of Nos. 686-67, 690 in 1902, they were referred to as warehouses in the New York Times. The buildings were ownedfrom 1903 until 1947 by Thomas J. Farrell (c. 1844-1921), his wife Catherine A. McIntee Farrell (died 1927), and their heirs. Nos. 686-690 were converted to lofts with stores in 1906 by architect James W. Cole. Consolidated California Vineyard Co. (Benno C. Samuel) was a tenant c. 1907-11. The buildings were converted into a single warehouse in 1917 (Alt. 2396-17). A long-term tenant (c. 1930-65) was Coy, Disbrow & Co./ Pohlman Paper Co., wholesale paper and twine merchants.

Coy, Disbrow & Co. was founded in 1922 by Robert Henry Coy and Hamilton T. Disbrow. Coy (c.1877-1942), born in Vermont, began in the paper business while a young man and was a partner in 1898 in Coy, Hunt & Co. He served as president and general manager of Coy, Disbrow & Co., as well as executive director of the Paper Association of New York. Disbrow (c. 1853-1942), born in New York City, started work as a boy in drygoods, then went into the paper business in 1876 with his brother, H. Grinell Disbrow. He left Disbrow Bros. to work in Wilkinson Bros. & Co., then Coy, Hunt & Co. in 1898. Disbrow served as chairman of the board of Coy, Disbrow & Co. Their firm became a division of Pohlman Paper Co., established in 1919 by Arthur W. Pohlman (c. 1883-1952), who served as president until his death. The building was converted to apartments in 1977 – taken from Greenwich Village Historic District Extension Designation Report, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission -May 2, 2006

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