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Hudson North American

About this listing

Woman-owned storage and moving company, housed in historic Sheffield Farms horse stable

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Manhattanville
Industrial, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

By Katie McLaughlin

Hudson North American, a woman-owned moving and storage company with a niche in the luxury home and office furnishings industry, occupies this former horse stable of the Sheffield Farms-Slawson-Decker Company, once one of the city's most important milk companies. The building, known as Sheffield Farms Stable, was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 for its association with the transformation of the New York City milk business and technological advances that improved sanitation.

The stable was built to accommodate the horses and wagons that delivered milk throughout Manhattan, first from a nearby milk depot and then from a major Sheffield bottling plant. Though it was "only" a stable, its design and upkeep consciously conveyed an image of cleanliness and hygiene. Its years as a stable ended in 1938 when Sheffield switched to delivery by truck, but the existing building continues to illustrate the emphasis on sanitation and health new to the milk industry at the time

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Sources

Nomination report for Sheffield Farms Stable, National Register for Historic Place, Nov. 9, 2005

[Posted, April 2007]



Though the stable is still standing, it is unclear whether it will be affected by Columbia University’s Manhattanville expansion at this time. Hudson North American has moved its offices around the corner to 3229 Broadway. (July 2010)

Nominations

Eric Washington

Built in 1903, this was the first branch plant at Manhattanville of the Sheffield Farms-Slawson Decker milk company, which the company improved by building a second model creamery around the corner in 1908. This building significantly represents the once prominent milk industry in Manhattanville during the early 20th century, when horses were an indispensable component of the enterprise.

The building's distinguished architectural style and its visual reference at the western termination of old Lawrence Street (now West 126th Street) make it a flagship to the surrounding industrial streetscape. The building is a fine example of the early work of Frank A. Rooke, the architect of record for several buildings of the Sheffield Farms-Slawson Decker milk company, in Manhattanville and elsewhere. Although the building is recognized on the National/State Register of Historic Places, it faces the threat of demolition by the imminent plans of Columbia University to expand its campus into Manhattanville.

In 1909 the milk company's prominence made this the locus of an attempted blackmail scheme by a group calling itself "The Arsenic Club." Several threatening letters were received demanding $800 under penalty of killing twenty horses (and the milk stable’s manager, if he interfered) "by shooting with a rifle equipped with a Maxim silencer and smokeless powder." During a well-publicized sting, police thwarted the would-be extortionists, who turned out to be kids, and unarmed save for some overly keen imaginations. No persons or animals were harmed.

(April 2007)


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