Worth House


The Worth House was a five-story brownstone building opened at 1 West 25th Street (202 Fifth Avenue / 1122 Broadway), in front of the Worth Monument. The Worth House existed since 1858 (when rooms were offered for rent in NYC newspapers) or before. It was named after the Worth Monument in front of it that was dedicated on November 25, 1857, and has served as a memorial and burial site of William Jenkins Worth (1794-1849). The 5-story building at 1 West 25th Street appeared in photos in the 1860s (see above). Note: the building on Broadway, on the northwest corner of 25th Street, was also called Worth House (in 1885), probably and extension.

On October 18, 1858, an advertising appeared in the New York Herald, in the section "Boarding and Lodging" with the following text: "Desirable Winter Board. − Worth House, No. 1 West Twenty-fifth street, junction of Broadway and Fifth Avenue − Desirable rooms, single and in suit, to let. Parties desiring first class board will please call. Table d'hote. Dinner at six."

On March 05, 1859, other advertising in the same newspaper, same section, with the following text: "Worth House, No. 1 West Twenty-fifth street, junction of Broadway and Fifth Avenue, − Some elegant family rooms now vacant in this desirable house. Table d'hote. Dinner at six."

On June 11, 1859, the Worth House advertised only one room to rent for the summer. On July 07, it advertised bedrooms and parlors and single rooms for rent for the summer, at reduced prices, with board.

On September 5, 1859, another advertising in the same newspaper, same section, with the following text: "Worth House, No. 1 West Twenty-fifth street, corner of Broadway, opposite Madison Square, will be reopened on Monday, September 5, as a first class house; suits of rooms for families and single gentlemen". In November 1870, another advertisement of the Worth House had the address "202 Fifth Avenue" (numbering had changed about 1861).

On February 13, 1873, the Worth House was advertised in the New York Herald to lease with "permission to alter for business purposes. Apply to W.W. Stephenson, 247 Broadway, room 22". It seems the it became an office building after that. The lease continued to be offered on November 21.

In the spring of 1874, the New York Club moved from 309 Fifth Avenue into the Worth House at No. 1 W. 25th Street, where it stayed for 14 years. The Robinson's Atlas of the City of New York - 1885, indicated 1 W. 25th Street as "New York Club" and Worth House is on Broadway, on the northwest corner of 25th Street (now Townsend Building), probably an extension.

By April 1888, the Club moved to Caswell residence, at 370 Fifth Avenue. Various articles of furniture were sold at auction on April 28.  In May, the same year, it became headquarters of the Madison Square Bank and later the sign "Madison Square Bank Building" was placed on its façade. About that time, a clock was installed on top of the building. Other institutions were housed in the building, like the Cosmopolitan magazine (1887), Berlitz School of Languages (1888), the National League of Republican Clubs (1888), the New Mausoleum Company (1890) and the Metropolitan Club of New York (1891).

By 1888, the National League of Republican Clubs headquarters was housed at 202 Fifth Avenue. On December 19, 1888, delegates from 27 states and 2 territories met in the premises for the National Convention. On July 11, 1893, the New York Times reported that "the State League has engaged as headquarters the rooms heretofore occupied by the National League at 202 Fifth Avenue, and will maintain a salaried bureau there". On March 20, 1894, the same newspaper reported that "The rooms of the league [State League of Republican Clubs] at 202 Fifth Avenue are the headquarters of the Platt-Milholland movement".

By 1890, the Madison Square Bank Building had an annex. The Bank collapsed before the end of 1893 and closed soon after. On March 2, 1894, "the lease, &c., of the Worth House" was sold under foreclosure on the premises. It was bought by W.E.D. Stokes (cousin of Edward S. Stokes, proprietor of Hoffman House) on May 1, 1894. In the same year (or before), Berlitz School of Languages leased some rooms in the building and by 1900 it and placed its large sign on the facade of the building at 1 West 25th Street, facing Worth Square.

By 1908, the first floor was occupied by P. J. Guskley. By 1908, a large sign "Berlitz" was placed by the windows of the 5th floor. About 1918, the old building was replaced by the six-story office building, now Porcelanosa Building.


Worth House




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The Worth House in front of the Worth Monument about the 1860s (after 1864). Source: America Illustrated, stereograph by E. & H.T. Anthony, New York Public Library.


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Berlitz School of Languages


The Broadway façade of the former Worth House at 1122 Broadway, published in 1899 by Mail & Express Company. The flagship in the Broadway side was then the Caswell, Massey & Co. Chemists (apothecaries), founded in 1752, with a store in the ground floor.


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East side façade of 1122 Broadway, the former Worth House, in 1910. Part of the building was occupied by Berlitz School of Languages.


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Old City New York