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Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Doubt It

The story behind 95 Bedford Street is befuddled. Not astounding, really, because no one wants to do primary research anymore. Actual pieces of information, misinformation, conjecture, and extrapolation are all blended together. Pieces are copied and recopied. Variants on all these mixings can be found everywhere. Good luck sorting them out.

Take this simple historic building at 95 Bedford Street in the West Village. The AIA guide says:

Originally J. Goebel & Company, 95 Bedford St., between Barrow and Grove Sts. W. Side. 1894. Kurzer an& Kohl.  A stable once used by a wine company, as the lettering on the facade clearly indicates; converted into apartments in 1927.

I don't know much about wine, but if they are referring to the 3 vessels in the logo, I believe they are crucibles. From Refining Metal Waste, published in 1940, we have a reference:

J. Goebel & Co., (crucibles, tongs, fluxes, furnaces, casting equipment) 95 Bedford St., New York.

The building is engraved 1865. How is that related to 1894? Perhaps the business was founded in 1865? 
I did find a book, Metal Industry, which indicates a location of J.Goebel at 67 Cortlandt Street.

One website says:

At 95 is a ground-floor former stables belonging to J. Goebel & Co., whose name and symbol is still displayed above the entrance. The 3 cups are appropriate, since he operated a crucible in the building.

I don't think he operated a crucible. I believe they manufactured crucibles.

Yet another site says:

This beautiful edifice on 95 Bedford Street, marks the former home of J. Goebal & Co., a factory that produced crucibles--containers for holding molten glass--founded in 1865. Notice the three glasses in the edifice design.

I would guess that the three "glasses" are crucibles. However, crucibles are often used to melt other materials, and "containers for holding molten glass" appears to be just conjecture.

From New York Songlines, we have:

The AIA Guide describes this building as being built as stables in 1894, later serving as a winery before becoming apartments in 1927. A neighbor describes this as "hogwash," however, saying that the building was actually built by J. Goebel & Company as a factory for crucibles--containers for holding molten glass. Apparently the basement is still full of them.

After reading numerous websites and a few manuscripts, I am still not certain if this building is dated 1894 or 1865, if Goebel was a wine company, if the logo shows glasses or crucibles, or if this building was a former stable and when. Who will do the leg work and sort all this out?  Does anyone care besides Christopher Gray*?  I doubt it.

Christopher Gray is a journalist and architectural historian noted for his column in the New York Times, Streetscapes, about the history of New York architecture and real estate. He is the founder of the Office for Metropolitan History, which provides research on the history of New York buildings.

Other West Village Posts: Friends Pt. 2, Zena, Buzz and Bling, Itsy Bitsy, Conflicted, McNulty's, Nuance, Parfumerie, Abingdon Square, Night Out, Paris in New York, 121 Charles, Gay Liberation Monument, Chocolate Bar, 17 Grove Street, Rubyfruit Bar and Grill, Grove Court, The Garden at Saint Lukes, Cherry Lane Theater, Hess Estate Triangle, Jane Jacobs


Anonymous said...

I did the same thing with the gates at the Gutenberg Museum.
The interest was ..... muted

Citypath said...

pretty cool either way!