The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission recently voted unanimously to give landmark status to the Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher House, a rare Second Empire style former mansion in College Point that became a hotel in the late 19th century and is now an apartment house.
The former mansion stands on an unusual circular site at 11-41 123rd St., and was designed by Morris A. Gescheidt, a German-born painter and architect who built a brick factory in College Point for Conrad Poppenhusen, a prosperous manufacturer of hard rubber goods. The residence was constructed in the 1850s for Herman A. Schleicher, a well-to-do merchant, and his family.
“The Schleicher House is one of the last substantial mid-19th century houses remaining in College Point, and recalls the period when the neighborhood changed from a farming community to a small village of homes and factories,” LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said.
Two and a half stories tall, the red brick house originally was part of a 14-acre estate. As a Second Empire style building, it features a mansard roof punctuated by dormer windows on four sides. It is believed to be one of the earliest surviving structures in New York City with a mansard roof, which slopes inward from all sides and provides additional interior space in the attic. When the mansion was nearing completion, a local newspaper called it “a gem of a residence.”
City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) sponsored the house for landmark status and applauded the commission’s vote. He has also backed its tenants in their ongoing battles over problems with utilities and safety in the home, which the city forced them out of last year due to dangers from the electrical system, since repaired.
“I am extremely pleased that the LPC has approved the landmark designation of this beautiful Victorian mansion,” Avella said in a prepared statement. “This decision is a victory for the entire community which has fought so hard to preserve this historical treasure of College Point.”
The City Council is charged with approving the designation before it can go into effect and protect the house.
— Peter C. Mastrosimone