In 1898, Andrew Carnegie hedged a plot to move further north than was fashionable at the time to 91st Street and 5th Avenue. He wanted room, more room than the land that the other mansions of the day occupied could afford him. He wanted room for a garden and when it became time to design his home, he told his architects that he wanted the “most modest, plainest, and most roomy house in New York” and the firm of Babb, Cook & Willard obliged with a grand, Georgian style house.
Carnegie certainly received his roomy home but modest it was not. It was the first American home to have a steel frame, a private Otis elevator (now at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.) and central heating. The house has 64 rooms, each airy and light filled. The home was built for longevity, with Carnegie living here after his retirement, overseeing his philanthropic projects, and his wife staying on until her death in 1946.
The building received landmark status in 1974, and in 1976 reopened as Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
2 East 91st Street, New York, NY – (212) 489-8404
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