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AND BUILDERS' GUIDE.
NEW YORK, SATUEDAY, APEIL 22, 1871.
Published Weekly by
THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION.
Ono year, in advance......................§6 00
All communications should be addressed to
C. -W. S^WEKT.
106 Broadwat, cob. op Pink Stbeet.'
Entered according to" Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
C. W. S^VEET,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.1
No- receipt for money due the REAL ESTATE Becord
will be aclcnowledged unless signed by one of our regular
collectors, Henry D. Sshth or Thomas K Cuwmikgs.
All bills for collection will be sent from the office on a regu¬
larly printed form. '
PATENT binders for preserving the Record can be had
at the office, or wiU be sent to any address in the city upon
tho receipt of one dollar.
NOTICE OF REMOVAL.
The Real Estate Record will remove its office on M.ij
1st, to the building Nos. 7 and 9 Warren street.
THE OmGIN OF THE CENTRAL PARE.
All great aqueducts, parks, or works of great
public benefit, usaUy have tbeii- origin in some
personal or selfisli object tlie projector desires
to attain. This, however, does not detract
from the credit due to him for the suggestion;
and we desii-e to place befora our readers the
name of the citizen to whom we are chiefly ia-
debted for the Central Park.
In March, 1848, the Sheriff sold at auction,
under foreclosiu-e, a tract of about ten acres of
land, .in a wild rocky part of the County of New
York, legally called the City of New York; al¬
though aU the benefit derived by owners of most
of the land lying between Forty-second street
and One Hundred and Fifty-fifth street, except¬
ing the villages of Bloomingdale, Harlem, and
Yorkville, was that of having the right to show
it on the City Map as lots of 25 by 100 feet,
and afEordtng increased facilities for sales by
such divisions. But for this, they were assessed
heavier for taxes.
The property we allude to was bounded by
the Fifth and Sixth avenues, and Eighty-fourth,
Eighty-fifth and Eighty-sixth streets, making
two entire squares on the City Map, or 144 city
lots. ■ The sale was effected for seven thousand
dollars per square; or, about one hundred dol¬
lars per lot. The buyers were two enterprising
citizens of a bold, speculative cast of mind,
named John F. Seaman and Edgac H. Laing.
As the discovery of gold in Galifomia, and the
completion of the Hudson River Railroad, were
in 1850 causing increased prices for lots below
Fourteenth street, and some agitation along the
North river, as far up as Fort Washington, they
hoped to avail of it, by sacrificing their bargain.
They found that there were no speculative buy¬
ers for centrally located lots, like their property-
The wealthy men of the day did not seek in¬
vestments beyond Fourteenth street that were
unapproachable by the county roads, and where
the expenses of grading would in the future be
As buyers held aloof, they finally distrusted
their own judgment, and became anxious to
realize the cash, before taxation at three dol¬
lars per lot consumed the jprinciiDal. Finally,
Seaman, who was always remarkable for nerve,
decided to agitate the public mind for a Grand
Park. He soon found that other owners would
be willing to come into the scheme, and sacri¬
fice the future value of their property to the
city, if they could persuade the authorities to
properly consider that sacrifice, in estimates of
The proijrietors of Jones' Wood saw their op¬
portunity, and entered the lists in competition:
they dwelt upon the facilities of access from the
river; their noble trees; a Park akeady; etc.,
etc. They had family wealth and judicial in¬
The Central party had numbers, and their
persistent outcries carried the day. The con¬
test was a warm one; the public became inter¬
ested, and finally believed they wanted a Park,
and that the time had come to secure the land.
In November, 1853, the Legislature passed an
act ordering Commissioners to be appointed.
The Comniissioners were appointed the same
year, and in 1856 proceeded to appraise and
take the land lying between Fifty-ninth and
One Hundred and Sixth streets and the Fifth
and Eighth avenues for a public Park, which, in
the discussions in the papers of the day, had al¬
ready been designated as t/ie Central Park, to
distinguish it from the Jones' "Wood Fa/rk. The
report was confirmed by the Supreme Court in
1857. The work on the Park was commenced
in 1857, in which year the public place was
legally named the Central Park: and by the
great energy shown by the gentlemen who were
appointed to act as Commissioners for its future
uses, a portion of the Park was opened in 1858,
and afterwards yearly, as work on it admitted.
Messrs. Seaman and Laing received about $500
per lot for their 143 lots, which, in 1858, they
properly considered inadequate for their exer¬
tions, and much below actual sales current in
that year, between the Fourth and FiEth ave¬
nues, east of their squares. The limits of the
Park were extended northerly, afterwards, to
One Hundred and Tenth street, to take into it
a picturesque series of hiUs of rocks, mostly pur¬
chased by speculators, with that view. This
addition amounted to 18 city blocks. Although a
speculative high price was allowed for this por¬
tion, the city made a good purchase, and is now
enjoying a large revenue from it yearly, to
which we wUl refer in another article.
TAIL'S PATENT BUILDING MACHINE.
We recently drew attention to the important
strides which artificial stone].ha3 recently made
among us; but—^with the single exception of
the grandJstaircase at-Mr. Gilsey's new hotel
—the material has hitherto been here confined
to the formation of sidewalks, floors for brew¬
eries and sugar-houses, and other places where
strength, durability, and imperviousness to
damp were the only requisites. In England
they seem to have gone far beyond this, and a
Mr. Joseph Tall has within the last few
years invented a machine for applying this ma¬
terial to building purposes, which has not only
already wrought a great revolution in the
buildings of England and France, but bids fair
to do so in other parts of the world. So far
back as 1866, Mr. W. E. Newton, the celebrated
English civil engineer, who was employed by
the Emperor Napoleon in the erection of fifty
model lodging-houses for the poorer classes in
Paris, recommended Tali's system to the em¬
peror, who adopted it, and thereby won the
gold medal for his lodging-houses, in the Paris
Exhibition of 1867.
The qualities of artificial stone have been
so long tested in sea-walls and other great
public works of the kind in England, Ger¬
many, France, and other parts of Europe,
during the last thirty or forty years; it is,
moreover, so well known to have been large¬
ly used in public and private dwellings in peri¬
ods of remotest antiquity, that nothing has
hitherto prevented its use among the modems,
for the latter purpose, but the difficulty of find¬
ing out some simple and practical method by
which the material, in its semi-fluid state at
the time of formation, could be made available
in the erection of isolated walls, and carried up
to great heights. This Mr. Tall professes to
have done,' and the endorsement which both
his apparatus and material^—(for the latter of
which, however, he claims no patent) have re¬
ceived from the most eminent architects and
builders, as well as scientific bodies, leads to the
conclusion that he has been eminently success¬
ful. Among others, the Architectural Associa¬
tion, before whom Mr. Tall was invited to read
a paper explaining his system, fuUy approved
of it, after submitting it to the most rigid.iex-
amination. Beams, formed of hard-bumed
bricks,, united by Portland cement, were pro¬
jected from' perpendicular surfaces and then
subjected to enormous weights, by leverage, to
test their strength; and in every case it was
found that the bricks broke before the cement
would give way. They then took a block of