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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Chamber of Commerce / Liberty Tower

65 Liberty St, James B. Baker, Architect, 1901 /
55 Liberty St, Henry Ives Cobb, Architect, 1910

 

—Exploring Lower Manhattan —

 
Chamber of Commerce / Liberty Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, September 10, 2011
1. Chamber of Commerce / Liberty Tower Marker
Inscription.
Chamber of Commerce
Even when it opened in 1901, 65 Liberty Street seemed like a tiny jewel among the towering behemoths of the financial district. The ornament-encrusted building served as the new headquarters of the New York State Chamber of Commerce, a venerable institution founded at Fraunces Tavern in 1768 (before the Revolution had made the Tavern famous).

Starting in Colonial times, the Chamber commissioned portraits of New York’s preeminent merchants and leaders, from sea captain Preserved Fish, to patriots George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, to the great 19th- and 20th-century titans of finance – eventually amassing the likenesses of some 200 worthies. The Chamber’s new quarters on Liberty Street were specially designed to accommodate this priceless collection, in a Great Hall measuring 90 feet by 6o feet, ringed in Honduras mahogany, and rising to a decoratively carved ceiling 38 feet overhead. The Chamber and the collection have moved on, but the building has been restored.

Liberty Tower
The 33-story Liberty Tower is one of the city’s earliest romantic skyscrapers, a Gothic-inspired, terra-cotta tower completed three years before the better known Gothic-inspired, terra-cotta Woolworth Building. Its promoters, typical of the race for fame of Lower Manhattan skyscrapers, claimed
Chamber of Commerce / Liberty Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, September 10, 2011
2. Chamber of Commerce / Liberty Tower Marker
for Liberty Tower the title, if not of world’s tallest building, then at least of world’s tallest building on such a small site. Among the many financial district employees who reported to work at 55 Liberty Street was the future 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who held a job in the Fidelity and Deposit Company’s first floor offices in the 1920s, shortly before becoming Governor of New York State.

Today Liberty Tower claims the distinction of being among the very first Lower Manhattan skyscrapers converted to residential use, anticipating a major 1990s trend by almost two decades.
 
Erected by The Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
 
Location. 40° 42.529′ N, 74° 0.591′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Liberty Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is on Liberty Street, between Broadway and Liberty Place. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Federal Reserve Bank of New York (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Federal Reserve Bank of New York (within shouting distance of this marker); Equitable Building
Marker in Lower Manhattan image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, September 10, 2011
3. Marker in Lower Manhattan
The Chamber of Commerce can be seen across the street from the marker.
(within shouting distance of this marker); 33 Liberty Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stream for Washing Laundry (about 400 feet away); Broadway – Maiden Lane (about 400 feet away); Veteran Corps of Artillery (about 400 feet away); William Barthman Jeweler (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. The upper left of the marker contains a photo of The Great Hall of the Chamber of Commerce. Below this is an exterior view of the building and has a caption of “With a membership including three centuries worth of such brilliant minds as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Edison – and financial movers and shakers like the Morgans, Astors, Vanderbuilts and Rockefellers – the Chamber of Commerce exerted enormous influence on the life of the city. Countless visionary public improvements promoted by the organization – among them the Erie Canal, the Atlantic cable, and the subway – helped transform New York from a colonial back-water to the world’s major modern metropolis.”
The lower right of the marker
Chamber of Commerce image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, September 10, 2011
4. Chamber of Commerce
features photographs of the Liberty Tower and of a Terra-cotta dragon trying to climb Liberty Tower’s English Tudor-inspired entranceway.
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 363 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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