Next to an empty lot and a parking garage, the three-story, brick building looks out of place. The ornate metal railings and creamy white columns appear unaffected by the burgeoning metropolis right outside its door—a snapshot of a previous world.
Formerly known as the Old Merchant’s House, or the Seabury Tredwell House, the Merchant’s House Museum is New York City’s only 19th century family home preserved in its entirety. At 29 East 4th Street, the old house has become a museum for history buffs, NYU students, and curious New Yorkers.
Photo: Merchant’s House Museum
Built in 1832, the building was soon sold to a wealthy New York merchant, Seabury Tredwell. The family remained at the residence until Gertrude Tredwell, the youngest daughter of eight siblings, died in the house at the age of 93. The family had occupied the house for almost 100 years.
Shortly after Gertrude’s death, reports of paranormal activity began circulating around the neighborhood. But this did little to stop George Chapman, a cousin of the wealthy family, from memorializing the home as a museum in 1936. The museum holds hundreds of the family’s personal possessions, ranging from original furniture to the family’s perfectly intact closets.