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A rare and highly detailed separate issue 1869 John Bute Holmes map of the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The map covers from the Hudson River to 7th Avenue and from 19th to 29th street. Like all of Holmes' important neighborhood maps, the present map focuses on the mid-19th century breakup of the great Manhattan estates into property lots. In the present example the focuses on the estates of Franklin, Robinson, heiress Janet de Kay (1802 - 1854), shipbuilder Henry Eckford (1775 - 1832), heiress Mary Clarke, and the academic and heir Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863).
The Chelsea Farm
Retired British Army Captain Thomas Clarke acquired a large 94 acre country estate in Manhattan (as odd as that sounds) in 1750. The deed, which was quoted in the New York Times, describes it asall that farm or plantation in the Bassau Bowery on the West side of Manhattan Island, bounded on the west by the Hudson River, on the east by land of John Horn, on the north by the land of Widow Cowenhoven and Brandt Schuyer, on the south by land of Sir Peter Warren and Yellis Mandeville.
In modern terms, the approximate extant of the estate was from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River from 21st to 24th streets. Here, Clarke built a grand mansion which he named Chelsea, referencing London's Chelsea Hospital, a home for aged veterans, which he in fact was. The lands were eventually broken up among his heirs until the mid-19th century, when the estates were fully broken up and broken into smaller lots to accommodate the Manhattan grid system and rapid urban growth of the city.
A 19th Century Description pf the Map
We cannot resist quoting this overwrought 1878 description of Holmes' map issued in Historical Magazine (Page 268),The estates described in this map, extend along the exterior line, on the North-river, from Nineteenth to Twenty-eighth Streets; thence along the latter Street to the Tenth Avenue; thence to Ninth Avenue seventy-five feet North of Twenty-eighth Street; thence southerly about two hundred feet; thence to the old Fitzroy Road - Twenty-seventh Street near Eighth Avenue; thence, along that old road, nearly to Twenty-ninth Street; thence, easterly, to Twenty-ninth Street, about two hundred feet easterly from the Seventh Avenue; thence nearly parallel with the Seventh Avenue, to Twenty-first Street; thence along the latter Street to the Fitzroy Road near the Eighth Avenue; thence along the Fitzroy Road to Nineteenth Street; and thence, along the latter Street. to the place beginning.
Quite the long winded description!
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