Rare Gilded-Age mansion on Fifth Avenue hits the market for $52M

Posted On Thu, January 28, 2021 By

Posted On Thu, January 28, 2021 By In Cool Listings, Upper East Side

Listing photos courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

As the Wall Street Journal first reported, one of the last Gilded-Age mansions along Fifth Avenue has hit the market for $52 million. Located right across from Central Park and the Met, the Beaux-Arts beauty at 991 Fifth Avenue was built in 1901 and has had only four owners since then. Today owned by the Irish Historical Society, the home’s interior is almost entirely intact, full of carved plasterwork and woodwork, marble fireplace mantles, stately columns, and leaded-glass windows.

Photo of 991 Fifth Avenue by A. Balet via Wikimedia Commons

Mansions for New York’s wealthiest families began to spring up along upper Fifth Avenue after the construction of Central Park in 1876. By the turn of the century, many people were departing the mansions that had previously been on lower Fifth Avenue. From Caroline and John Jacob Astor to Henry Clay Frick, a who’s-who of the city’s elite resided here. As 6sqft previously explained, many of these grand homes have been reappropriated into embassies, cultural institutions, apartments.

The home at 991 Fifth Avenue was constructed by architects James R. Turner and William G. Killian. It is 25-feet wide and extends 100 feet deep on an unusually deep 110-foot lot. The limestone and brick exterior is striking for its two-story bowed front that is topped by a terrace and its copper dormers.

The architects had been commissioned by Mary Augusta King, daughter of former New York Governor John A. King and widow of John King, who had extensive real estate holdings in New York and Newport. He left Mary a $5 million estate, the equivalent of roughly $113 million today, according to Daytonian in Manhattan.

Mary died in 1905, and the following year, David Crawford Clark, a founder of the banking firm Clark Dodge & Company, moved in. In 1911, he commissioned pioneering Beaux-Arts architect and decorator Ogden Codman, Jr. to redesign the interiors. Ogden was well known for co-authoring with Edith Wharton The Decoration of Houses in 1897, which became the go-to source for high-end interior design.

The home was then sold again in 1918, this time to William Ellis Corey, president of Carnegie Stetel and the United States Steel Corporation. He had a scandalous marriage to musical comedy star Mabelle Gilman, as Daytonian tells us, and when she divorced him in 1923, he was left alone in the large house until his death in 1934.

The current owner, the American Irish Historical Society, bought the mansion in 1939 from Corey’s son. As the listing explains:

…the Society has used the mansion to house a massive library of 10,000 volumes (including the first printing of the Bible into the Irish language in 1685), a huge collection of vinyl records, and letters from the White House from Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was a member of the Society.

In 2006, the Society hired preservation architect Joseph Pell Lombardi to upgrade and restore the mansion, referring to the original drawings of Ogden Codman, Jr.

Listing agent Paula Del Nunzio told the Wall Street Journal that the building could easily be converted back to a single-family residence. “The materials with which it’s made are basically no longer available,” she said.

[Listing: 991 Fifth Avenue by Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens]


Listing photos courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

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Neighborhoods : Upper East Side



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