I’ve driven and walked past this building many times, but never really paid attention to it. Today my wife had a doctor’s appointment not far away and while waiting for her I took the dog for a walk. As I walked by I finally noticed the building and thought to myself that there must be some history to it.
After some digging around I discovered what it was. According to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & historic preservation historic resource inventory form for this property:
Constructed ca. 1905, 99 White Plains Road, formerly known as both 105 White Plains Road and the Goebel Collectors Club, is located on the north side of White Plains Road (State Route 119) in the Village of Tarrytown, Town of Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York. It is bound to the north by Martling Avenue, the south by White Plains Road, and the east and west by commercial development. In 1979, the Village of Tarrytown Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) designated the south, or front, facade a local landmark (LeBeau, 1979). The property is situated on the north side of White Plains Road, and approximately 550 feet north of the New York State Thruway (Interstate [I]-87/287) .The property is fully visible from grade-level White Plains Road, but screened by development from the Thruway which is in a cut.
Originally a residence, 99 White Plains Road is the principal building on the lot, and was converted for use by institutions/commercial enterprises during the 1970s. It sits upon an expansive lawn and is accessed by a circular driveway and a large asphalt parking lot is located to the east. Shrubs and flowers ring the perimeter of the building. A stone wall flanks the south side of the property along White Plains Road, east and west of the driveway.
The building at 99 White Plains Road is a two-story, rectangular-plan, Colonial Revival-style brick former residence. The Colonial Revival style was a popular building mode in the United States during the beginning of the 20th century. The Philadelphia Centennial celebration of 1876 is credited with awakening interest in Colonial-era architecture. By the late 19th-century, many studies of Colonial architecture had been published and disseminated, and influenced many architects working throughout the United States, including the architect of 99 White Plains Road (McAlester & McAlester, 1991).
The building is situated atop a hill overlooking and set back from White Plains Road. It rests atop a stone foundation and is capped by a hipped roof sheathed in slate and metal. The roofline is emphasized by a denticulated cornice. Symmetrical brick chimneys with stone caps flank the side, or east and west, façades. The south or principal façade is symmetrically balanced and is five bays wide, flanked by single story, hipped-roof additions. The façade has many embellishments including copper collector boxes with decorative designs; stone belt-course; full-height, hipped-roof projecting bays accented by brick quoins; and a full-height, recessed entry bay set within a stone surround and capped by a denticulated pediment. First-story windows in the projecting bays are eight-over-eight double-hung sash, topped by keystone lintels. Second-story windows are six-over-six double-hung sash, topped by brick-and-stone keystone lintels. Within the entry bay, multi-pane, round-headed sash flank the main entry on the first story, and are accented by keystone lintels and stone sills; second-story windows within the entry bay include two six-over-six double-hung sash accented by brick-and-stone keystone lintels that flank a central six-oversix window situated atop the main entry. The window is set within a decorative stone surround with astone lintel, flanked by scrolls. The main entry consists of double wood-panel doors topped by a transom that is illuminated by finely designed window panes. The entry is set within a Classical surround consisting of Corinthian pilasters, topped by a denticulated pediment.
The side, or east and west, facades include single-story, brick, hipped-roof projections that are sheathed in slate. A square-plan, two-story, brick section is appended to the northeast corner of the building and shares similar details with the main core. A modern, flat-roof addition is appended to the northwest corner of the building
The 1891 map of Tarrytown provides a great deal of information concerning development within the village. While the village proper remained a locus of commercial and industrial activity, residential and estate development thrived south of the village. Multiple estates overlooked the Hudson River. Estates were also depicted east of South Broadway on White Plains Road, including the Braemar estate attributed to G.B. Newton in the present location of 99 White Plains Road. A comparison of the 1872 map and the1891 map appears to indicate that the Braemar estate is similar in form and layout to the 1872 Roberts property, and therefore, one can assume that the Roberts clan most likely sold the property to the Newtons who dubbed it Braemar (Canning & Buxton, 1975).
By the turn of the 20th century, South Broadway became the area’s first paved road when a strip of asphaltic concrete was laid from Central Avenue to Franklin Street (Canning & Buxton, 1975). A 1908 map of Tarrytown depicts the area south of the village core largely made up of estates along the Hudson River, with the exception of Church Street and Van Wart and Paulding Avenues, which were characterized by small-scale lot development. White Plains Road was also characterized by large estates, and in 1908, the property associated with 99 White Plains Road was still attributed to the Newtowns, with Sarah H. Newtown owner of the 17 1/3 acre estate (Hyde, 1908).
However, his map evidence conflicts with local histories that indicate alternate owners of the Newton estate at that time. For example,Canning and Buxton’s History of the Tarrytowns indicates that Judge Rumsey Miller owned the Newtown estate in 1904. That year, the principal residence was destroyed by a fire and afterward, Miller erected the present-day Colonial Revival-style house in 1905 (Canning & Buxton, 1975). Conversely, the Village of Tarrytown’s HARB recommendation to designate the front facade, prepared in 1979, indicates that 99 White Plains Road was constructed in 1905 for Jonathan D.Maxwell of the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company, the village’s largest employer from 1900-13 (LeBeau, 1979). Despite conflicting information concerning the builder of the property, both sources indicate that 99 White Plains Road was constructed in 1905 in an era dominated by opulent wealth generated by industrial pursuits in Westchester County and the overall New York City region.
A Sanborn map produced of Tarrytown in 1941 indicates that at the commencement of the war, Thomas Luke was still owner of 99 White Plains Road, although his property was reduced in size by that time (Sanborn, 1941).
Along with this general trend, 99 White Plains Road was converted for commercial use. After the
property was sold by the Lukes in 1961, it was owned by a series of enterprises, including Simmon Precision Instruments; Pondrow, Inc.; and the Hudson River Valley Commission (LeBeau, 1979). This commission was formed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller and his staff to regulate development along the Hudson River in 1966, and led a landmark battle to preserve Storm King Mountain from inappropriate development by Consolidated Edison during the late 1960s (Hudson River Valley Commission, 2004). In 1964, a major fire destroyed much of the interior, forcing renovation and removal of historic fabric. In 1976, the Goebel Collector’s Club opened a gallery and museum at 99 White Plains Road, where, for many years, the largest Hummel figurine was on display. The building is currently occupied by a book publisher and other professional offices.
Canning, Jeff, and Wally Buxton. History of the Tarrytowns, from Ancient Times to the Present. Harrison, NY: Harbor Hill Books. 1975.
McAlester, Virginia & Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.1991.
LeBeau, Bryan. “Goebel Collector’s Club HARB Recommendation, Tarrytown-on-Hudson, New York.” October 29, 1979. On file at Village of Tarrytown, New York Village Hall.
Hyde, E. Belcher. Atlas of the Rural County District North of New York City, Embracing the Entire Westchester County, New York. New York: E.B. Hyde. 1908.
Sanborn Map Company. Greenburgh, New York. New York: Sanborn Map Company. 1924, 1941.
Source: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Historic Resource Inventory Form for 99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY