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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 7, no. 162: April 22, 1871

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EAL AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. YII. NEW YORK, SATUEDAY, APEIL 22, 1871. No. 162. Published Weekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. TERMS. . 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 so enormous. 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 present value. 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¬ fluence. 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