233 S. Albany St.

HistoryForge Day 2017: Connecting the Generations

233 S. Albany St.

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage

Point of Interest Details

This ca. 1881 home is primarily in the Stick style, but it also incorporates elements of Gothic Revival, Eastlake, and Colonial Revival. The large eaves have exposed rafter tails, and the main façade's gable features a decorative truss and vertical picket siding. The Colonial Revival element is the front porch, with its Doric posts and gable pediment.

This house is the first of several owned and occupied by an interrelated group of prominent businesspeople and community leaders in the late nineteenth century. The likely builder, William Bostwick, was a state legislator and owned a factory (he first made sashes and blinds and then pianos and organs) with Philip Frank Sisson and Roger B. Williams, who lived just down the street at 315 and 319 S. Albany. The Bostwicks were large landowners and themselves lived at 318, since demolished for the Beechtree Care Facility. Their son lived in this house until it was sold to drugstore owner Hiram Haskins in 1889.

Note that as you continue the walk, you will notice a very similar house at 327 S. Albany. That home was also owned by the Bostwicks and was probably constructed from the same plans.

This point of interest is part of the tour: The Henry St John Historical Walking Tour


Building Type: Residence

Construction: Two-story wood structure with wood lining

Residents in 1910

Name Sex Age Relation Profession

Parker M Merrill M 17 Grandson None

Minnie Merrill F 40 Daughter-In-Law None

Lynn Merrill M 40 Son Designer

Ida Merrill F 57 Wife None

Jason P Merrill M 62 Head Manager

Charles A Merrill M 27 Son Artist


Source: Henry St. John Local Historic District Nomination, Sara Johnson and Kristen Olson, Historic Ithaca, Inc., 2012.

Number 233 S. Albany Street is located on a double-width lot at the northeast corner of South Albany and West Clinton streets. It is a two-story wood frame house built ca. 1881 in the Eastlake or Stick style with Gothic Revival elements and a Colonial Revival-style front porch. It is rectangular in plan with a deep full-width porch across the west façade.

The main roof is hipped with a cross gable running east-west at the center of the house. Upper roofs are steeply pitched while the porch roof has a low pitch; all are clad in asphalt shingle. The substantial eaves feature decorative bracing and brackets in the gable ends and exposed rafter tails throughout. The foundation is of local stone. A brick interior chimney is located at the north façade.

Walls are clad in clapboard with wood corner boards. The west façade gable features a decorative truss and vertical picket siding in the gable end. Vertical picket siding also appears in a band separating the first and second stories. The shed-roofed porch has a centered gable pediment. A classical door surround flanks the front door, stylistically related to the Colonial Revival-style porch, which features Doric posts on a low, slatted balustrade. Bay windows are on each side of the front door.

Windows appear in singles and in pairs and are generally one-over-one with tall proportions. Windows are symmetrically arranged on each façade. The double entry doors are topped with a six-light transom. A bay window projects from the north façade, overhanging the raised basement story. The east façade features a tall rectangular bay window and a small, open-sided, shed-roofed porch.

A gravel driveway leads along the north façade to a two-story, side-gabled carriage house. The carriage house has a small, decorative trussed cross gable in the center of the west façade. Walls are clad in clapboard with wood corner boards. A wide expanse of lawn occupies the north half of the lot.

Number 233 S. Albany Street is architecturally significant as a highly intact example of a substantial Stick style residence. It has a high level of integrity, retaining all of its original exterior features and finishes. It is very similar in design to the house one block south near the intersection of South Albany and Center streets. The carriage house is architecturally significant as an intact example of a nineteenth century carriage house with Stick-style detailing.

Number 223 S. Albany Street is historically significant as part of a grouping of grand residences on South Albany Street whose builders and early owners shared business and family connections. This group of South Albany Street houses also includes numbers 315, 319, 323, 327, 401, 405, and 412. The house’s likely builder, William Bostwick, was co-owner, along with Philip Frank Sisson and Roger B. Williams, of a sash and blind factory later converted to an organ and piano factory. Bostwick was earlier in partnership with developer Charles M. Titus in the Foster Hixson machine shops, where Frank Sisson was an employee. Roger B. Williams resided at 315 S. Albany Street from 1875 to 1933, while Frank and Eliza Sisson lived at 319 S. Albany Street from 1874 to 1895.

The Bostwick family were large landholders in the neighborhood, with their impressive residence on a large lot at 318 S. Albany Street. Demolished to make way for the Beechtree Care Center, it became the Reconstruction Home for Infantile Paralysis in 1920. The Bostwicks also owned 323 and 327 S. Albany Street. William L. Bostwick was elected to the state legislature in 1874 and was involved in passing the first compulsory education law. He served as County Assemblyman in 1875 and as Town Supervisor in 1867. In 1876 he was elected to the Board of Regents of the State University of New York. In 1861 he married Fannie H. Skidmore; their son Edward Bostwick, who owned 327 S. Albany Street, was city judge and served as alderman.

Fannie A. Bostwick purchased the 66’ x 75’ corner lot from George and Mary Beardsley in 1881. Fannie and William L. Bostwick sold the property to their son William Herbert Bostwick in December1881 and the house was constructed by 1882. The house is nearly identical to the house one block south at 327 S. Albany Street, which was also owned by the Bostwicks and likely constructed from the same plans. In 1889, Hiram Haskins purchased the property. Haskins, owner of the property until 1906, owned the West End Drug Store.

The house and a carriage house appear on the 1888 Sanborn company map of Ithaca. A partial-width front porch appeared on the 1893 map and the 1898 map shows bay windows flanking the small porch as well as two shallow bays on the east side. It is likely that the existing full-width porch was added between 1904 and 1910. It does not appear that there have been any significant alterations after 1910.

This point of interest is part of the tour: HistoryForge Day 2017: Connecting the Generations


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