The History of Murray Hill

How Murray Hill became the historic district it is today.

A Residential Enclave

The Murray Hill Restriction of 1847 had served the neighborhood well. Although challenged many times to the highest courts, with few exceptions, the Restriction was upheld. But the one thing the Murray descendants could not have foreseen was the advent of a new type of "dwelling"-the apartment house.

To strengthen their ranks against the invasion of the high rise, the Murray Hill Association was formed in 1914. The original directors were J. Pierpont Morgan, William Church Osborn, Herbert Parsons, Warren Delano, George R. Sheldon, William D. Guthrie, and Temple Bowdoin.

In 1920, the home of the late Charles T. Barney, of Knickerbocker Trust fame, at the northeast corner of Park Avenue and 38th Street, was improved with a fifteen-story apartment house, the first multi-family house to be erected in Murray Hill. The Judge Russell house, at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and 37th Street, was the next to go. It passed into the hands of co-operative apartment builders in 1922.

Despite its powerful roster of members, the Murray Hill Association could not prevent the rise of the apartment houses along the avenues of the neighborhood, but it could-and did-continue to use the 1847 Restriction successfully to prevent the conversion of entire buildings for commercial use and to block wholesale demolition of buildings and the consolidation of lots for the building of large office spaces.



The Making of Murray Hill
The Gaslight Era
A Residential Enclave


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