American Tract Society Building

 

The American Tract Society building is located at 150 Nassau Street, southeast corner of Spruce Street (144-152 Nassau Street and 2-6 Spruce Street), adjacent to Printing House Square. It was design by Robert Henderson Robertson, combining elements of the Romanesque and Renaissance Revival styles, and built between 1894 and 1895.

It is one of the earliest steel skeleton-frame skyscrapers in New York, partially of curtain-wall construction. With its twenty full stories high (plus cellar, basement, and three-story tower), it was also one of the city's tallest and largest skyscrapers upon its completion.

The American Tract Society was founded in 1825 to publish and distribute religious tracts and literature. Its first home was a building, in the same site, completed the following year. A new five-story Tract House was built in 1846-1847 on the same site. The first two stories were rented out. The Tract House was altered in 1871 -1872 with the addition of one story, a mansard roof with arched dormers. Demolition of the old Tract House began in March 1894, and a lot on Nassau Street to the south was purchased.

The Society moved out in 1914 and lost its building through foreclosure. The lower portion was leased to the publishers of the New York Sun, from 1914 to 1919 (main source: Landmarks Preservation Commission, June 15, 1999).

 

American Tract building

 

Antique photos of NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American Tract Society building between the Tribune Building (left) and the New York Times Building (right). Source: King's Views of New York, 1896.

 

Old American Tract Society building

 

Construction of the American Tract Society building in 1895 (J.S. Johnston/MCNY).

 

Tract House demolition

 

The projected American Tract Society building, illustration published in American Architect & Building News (May 26. 1894).

 

Old Printing House Square

 

Printing House Square

 

NYC Skyscrapers

 

40 Wall Street

 

Construction American Tract building

 

The American Tract Society building and the NY Times Building (Pace University), on the right, about 1975. Photo by Edmund Vincent Gillon, MCNY.

 

NY Times building

 

American Tract building NY

 

Above, the old American Tract Society building after the modifications in 1872 (source: Illustrated Christian Weekly, May 15, 1875). Below, the same building in 1864, before those modifications. Publisher Currier & Ives rented the ground floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Buildings

 

Copyright © Geographic Guide - Old photos of NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Tract Society Building