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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 30, no. 747: July 8, 1882

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXX. NEW TOEK, SATUEDAT, JULT 8, 1882. No. 747 Published Weekly by The Real Estate Record Association TERMS: OJTE YEAR, in advance.....$6.00 Commimications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 101 Broadway; J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. The letter which appears this morning, from our well-informed Chicago correspond¬ ent, in regard to the present condition and future prospects of the crops is of more than passing interest. The writer has unusual facilities for procuring the most reliable information on this subject, and, as he has no interest to serve by making his reports favorable or otherwise, the utmost reliance may be placed upon this report. That the wheat crop is assured, and a very bountiful one, is beyond question, and if, as our cor¬ respondent thinks, we should have a large orop of corn, we may look forward with confidence to prosperous times for at least another year. That this prosperity will make itself felt in real estate.there can be little doubt, and on all sides we hear predic¬ tions of a very active market in the autumn. We publish this week the first of a series of papers of more than usual interest on interior decoration of dwellings. This sub¬ ject, at the present time, is occupying a large share of public attention. As the writer of these articles is thoroughly posted in this matter, we feel sure that they will prove both interesting and instructive. NOVELTIES IN CITY ARCHITECTURE. An architect named Hamilton, who, by the way, was the person who trained A, B. MuUett for his business, was an earnest ad¬ vocate of the use of statuary and busts as adornments to the front of a certain class of buildings. He succeeded in getting his ideas put into shape in several well-known edifices. Were he alive to-day, he would find that his favorite theory was beginning to be ac¬ cepted, and that faces and figures were be¬ ginning to be used to relieve the monotony of the fronts of noble houses. An instance is to be found on Samuel J. Tilden's new house on Gramercy Square. This building is worth a visit, as showing many novelties in the way of adornment. During the last three years architects have been trying many showy experiments. Such of our readers as have not already done so, should take a walk up Fifth avenue and down Madison avenue east of the Central Park. He will observe that the houses of our nouveaux riches are daring in their origin¬ ality. The reign of the brown stone front is over for the very choicest houses, while brick with stone trimmings and stones of many colors are used in new and striking combinations. Mr. Armour's dwelling at the corner of Fifth avenue and Sixty-eighth street, and the buildings which immediately adjoin it, furnish good specimens of the kind of houses our very rich people affect. The fronts are highly embellished, and the designs are strikingly original. The Vanderbilt family mansions have done something to cause a break in the type of house which was considered the most fashionable in New York. Hereafter wealthy people, wnen a new home is pro¬ jected, will prefer one which has some dis¬ tinction apart from its neighbors, and they will not be afraid of a design which involves originality and some strikingljj novel fea¬ tures. Some of the fronts on Fifth and Madison avenues are very attractive in ap¬ pearance, and the architects who have tried new effects have been very happy in their experiments. The taste of the average American is somewhat flamboyant—he wants something strikingly peculiar, and this fact will, in time, give us a race of architects who wdl not fear novelties in the way of striking exteriors. If the present demand for apartment houses continues, we may naturally expect in time the erection of many really magnificent buildings which will architecturally dwarf anything erecte.d or now under way. But the really splendid dwelling houses of the future, whether for single persons or to accommodate a number of families, will, in all probability, be erected along the Boule¬ vard, Riverside Drive, Eighth avenue and on the heights wesi of Morningside Park. They will use up more ground than the best houses east of the park. They will have shade trees, winding walks, and room for ornamental plants. A few prosperous years, with a growing population, will lead to the erection of some costly dwellings, most of which will achieve distinction in the way of architecture. The hotels of the future will also be beautiful in appearance, and not mere barns like the Windsor Hotel. A PROPOSED CREMATORY. In a great and populous cityHhe question of what shall we do with our dead must ever be an important one. This is especially true of New York where the limited space, as well as the great value of realty, in addi¬ tion to the rapid march of improvement, render the establishing of large cemeteries in convenient localities for the interment of the dead practically an impossibility. A number of gentlemen of this city and Brook¬ lyn, recognizing these facts, have recently formed a company known as the United States Cremation Company, with a capital of $50,000. They have determined to erect a iiandsome crematory on the Grand Boule¬ vard, not far south of One Hundred and Fifth street. The architects have exercised rare skill in the treatment of the design for this novel structure, which when erected will present a very imposing and unique ap¬ pearance. It is the intention of this com¬ pany to make a regular business of the incineration of the dead, so that the use of the new proposed crematory wiU not be confined to the stockholders of the company, > but be open to the public at large. That this scheme may prove a financial success seems quite possible when we remember that it vf ill be the first erected on this side of the Atlantic, excepting of course the late Dr. Le Moyne's, at Washington, Pa., which is strictly a private affair. It is claimed with some justice, by those who favor cremation, that if the manner in which the process is carried out, and its manifold advantages were fully understood, that it would not be long before this method of disposing of the remains of those who have ended their earthly career would come into general use. Many persons imagine that a body is exposed to the fire when cremated in a manner somewhat similar to burning on a pyre as practised by the ancients and in late years by many of the inhabitants of India and Japan. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as at no time does eitner the fle.=?h or bones come into contact with the flames for an instant. The method now employed in cremating a body is a very simple one; the body is wrapt in a winding sheet saturated with alum, placed in a crib in the chapel, whence it descends by an elevator to the crematory chamber. This by means of superheated air has been previously heated to a white heat, at a temperature of 1,500 Fahrenheit. When opened to receive the body the iurushing cold air cools this chamber to a delicate rose tint. After remaining here for about an hour thej body is completely decomposed, nothing remaining but the pure ashes (about 4 per cent, of the original weight) which are taken out and placed in an urn. This may then be given to the relatives of the deceased to dispose of as they may desire. A body that is buried decornposes by slow combustion. Cremation is simply rapid combustion, and by it is accomplished in less than a single hour what, under the burial system, requires many years of loathsome decay and the hungry work of worms, moles and snakes. While cremation, as well as burial, debars all hope of extended life on this earth, the former goes further and pre¬ vents what is so vividily described by Edgar Allen Poe, when he says, "To be buried alive is beyond question the most terrific of all extremes^ which have ever fallen to the lot of mere mortality." Cremation elso deprives the graveyard ghoul of his occupation and the body shatcher of his victim. It is said that funerals in the United States last year cost more than the total gold and silver yield of the entire country. But quite recently there have been several cases in our courts where the excessive charges of the undertakers, as well as the needless display and pomp at the funerals of those who died possessed of but very mode¬ rate means, were severely criticized, the judges refusing to approve of the bills. On the other hand it is claimed that a body may be cremated, all diie respect being carefully observed, for the trifling sum of $15.00, to which must of course be added the moderate expense of a cinerary urn or terra cotta chest for the preservation of the ashes.