Rescue Me: 286 Grand Street “The Arno”, Stanford White Design

We are revisiting 286 Grand Street but, this time as a building in need of rescuing. As mentioned in a comment the last time we looked at the building, a plaque says the building is a Stanford White design in 1891 and the name of the building is “The Arno”. According to the Portrait and Biographical Record of Orange County the builder was an Irishman named Hugh McLernon.

This building is truly an architectural treasure in the City of Newburgh. Stanford White and his firm designed some very important structures like: the Second Madison Square Garden, the Washington Square Arch and many other large scaled breathtaking buildings. And now, we have this humble by comparison apartment building in Newburgh also designed by White. Humble, but yet oh so important. It has been said that White’s design principles embodied the “American Renaissance“. And, if you really love history read into the scandalous life and murder of Stanford White.

The building is being sold as a short sale for $175,000. It is vacant and from the looks of the current picture, it is also decaying rapidly. This would be an excellent building to be restored. An idea could be to make the building into a co-op with 4 owners. As you can see from this original picture from the late 1890’s each floor originally had its own rear balcony. Many of the detailed stained glass windows have still survived. It is about time buildings like these in Newburgh fall into the hands of restoration-minded individuals who will work to preserve the structure and not erase its historical past by stripping away every detail.

To keep up to date with Newburgh Restoration news, join the mailing list below or become a fan on Facebook.

Plaque Photo ©Catherine Mouttet
1890’s Photo ©Newburgh; Her Institutions, Industries and Leading Citizens

12 Comment

  • Another building that I’ve always admired. It has SO much detail. I really hope that it gets scooped up by the right person!

  • Colleen, yeah, I got really excited when I found out about the history and the architect. I really hope it falls in the right hands too.

  • It also had a bad fire in the basement in 2006. probably has a lot of damage from the upper floors.

  • I don’t believe for a second that this was actually designed by Stanford White, but if some association with a renowned architect helps get the building sold and eventually fixed up, then that’s a great thing. I imagine that in their original configuration, the apartments in this building were roomy and rather
    “high end.” It could be beautiful again. I guess there’s no off-street parking available, though?

    On a completely unrelated note, that balcony/cupola thingy on the house next door is pretty awesome!

  • I contacted a realtor and the house is not on the market anymore. The sign on the door says the plumbing was winterized in July. I did some poking around this building and the neighboring mansion this afternoon. Looking in the basement window I didn’t see any evidence of a fire. There is a bunch of refuse piled out back, but it wasn’t fire damaged either. There is a crumbling old carriage house connected to 286 Grand by a crumbling brick wall, which looks like it belongs with a small single family home….not sure what the deal is there.

    Definitely not the sort of design we typically think of when we think of Stanford White, but remember he started his career with H.H. Richardson and this building does show some influence from Richardson. White did design other buildings in the 1890’s that are similar stylistically. Not everything he did was on a grand scale or modeled after Classical prototypes. I don’t see any reason to dismiss the veracity of the Newburgh Preservation Association’s claim without proof to the contrary. Presumably they did their research before putting the plaque up. It is an interesting building which I would seriously consider buying if it was available.

  • Well, let’s be on the watch if it was purchased. Maybe we will see some improvements with the new sale. I agree that these were luxury high end apartments. It was featured in one of the old books as a good example of real estate.

  • I think it’s kind of an odd proposition to say one should believe claims such as this one unless one can provide proof that said claims are false. I don’t mean to disrespect or offend the N.P.A., but the majority of the these claims that appear on the internet (about Stanford White’s alleged connection to various buildings) are flat out wrong. Many of these claims are made by serious historians and very reputable groups, but still, they’re often mistaken, usually relying on unsubstantiated quotes or some individual’s memory. The fact is that this building, as much as I like it, bears no notable resemblance to any Stanford White building that I’ve seen. Personally, I don’t see a real resemblance to Richardson’s work either. Yes, White trained for H.H. Richardson as a younger man, but by the time this building was erected, White had been away from Richardson for better than twelves years. By 1891, the firm of McKim, Mead & White had been in existence for more than a decade and was already the pre-eminent architecture firm in New York. By 1891, White was the main creative force behind his firm and was famous for individually designing buildings such as Madison Square Garden, Judson Memorial Church, Rosecliff, etc. Although the firm continually accepted many smaller commissions, it’s extremely unlikely that White himself would have accepted a commission to design a small, plain apartment building in Newburgh at that time. Further, 1900 and 1901 were very busy years for Stanford White, and his work from that time is quite well documented. Sam White, himself an architect and grandson of Stanford White, has been meticulous in documenting his grandfather’s work. But I have searched and could find no evidence of a connection between Stanford White and this building, except of course for the claim by the Newburgh Preservation Association. So I personally don’t believe it, but I will keep an open mind. I’d love to be proved wrong, in all honesty.

  • I’ve tried to find the seller because I’d like to buy both. If anyone gets the info just send it my way.

    • This property is still available for sale if anyone is interested.

      • How do we get in touch with seller? 917 545 4122.

        • Hi Peter,
          The listing agent is Cordelia Nyampong at Besmatch Real Estate, her #917-215-5955.
          I understand that it is a short sale and being that it has been on the market for so long, I gather that the bank is probably being difficult on the price. It is a beautiful piece of history that would make for an amazing restoration project if one has the funds. I looked at the outside of it when I was touring the Monell next door. I didn’t see any foundation or façade issues, but the inside is probably another story.
          Let us know how you make out.