What is Laura Spelman Hall NYC? You may not be surprised to find it’s condos for the super wealthy, but it’s origins are far from what you’d expect.
Located where Bleecker Street’s chain of high-priced boutiques peters out, the building at 320 West 12th is a curiosity. It used to be 607 Hudson Street, but that’s the tip worth following.
Hudson is not as chichi as West 12th Street, it seems, or maybe someone wants a complete break from a less elite past.
Apartment sale prices have exceeded $20 million. We don’t know if the name change spiked the price, but when you have that kind of dough, you get to play.
History on Abingdon Square: Laura Spelman Hall in New York City
320 West 12th Street, now officially called “The Abingdon,” got it’s name from the square it faces.
Both are located on former farmland settled by European gentry in the early 18th Century and have evolved in a sweeping economic curve.
In 1906, it opened as the Trowmart Inn, a six-story, forward-looking home for working women without husbands. It was the brainchild of William Martin, and he did “not care for any return upon the capital he has invested,” the New York Times reported at the time.
“Girls of gentleness and refinement do not care to be courted upon the open highway, nor in public parks,” Martin believed.
The world was filling up with spinsters, and he built the Trowmart Inn as a solution. A proper place to entertain would result in “happy, excellent wives.”
That ideal lasted until 1920 when the YWCA took it over.
Enter Laura Spelman Rockefeller
Laura Spelman Rockefeller was a philanthropist and wife of John D. Rockefeller. Spelman College is also named after Spelman, the daughter of abolitionists who became one herself.
Spelman is an historically black women’s college, but it has integrated in recent years.
Looking at Laura Spelman Hall, a NYC wonder I discovered while wandering Greenwich Village, you see living space more historic than its quiet neighborhood suggests.
Village Care operated it as a nursing home for decades between the YWCA and the condos.
From wealthy English landowners to working girls without husbands to extended healthcare to The Abingdon, a home for the super wealthy — again.
The former Laura Spelman Hall NYC is easy to find where Bleecker Street comes to an end. Abingdon Square awaits. Across the street is history.