Like all great art, architecture relays secrets of centuries past and offers a window into the culture and history of those who came before us. Renowned for its rich history, Jersey City’s most iconic buildings, and the people who dwelled within, provide a unique insight into how the city we’ve come to know and love has evolved over the years.
Dixon Leasing understands that every historic property contributes to Jersey City’s story. That’s why we make every effort to restore or recreate the architectural elements that make each home unique. Join us as we take a trip through history and look behind the facades of some of Jersey City’s beautiful buildings in an ongoing collaboration with Jersey Digs.
Situated in the heart of historic Downtown Jersey City, just half a block from Van Vorst Park, stands a stately brownstone at 287 Barrow Street. Constructed in the mid-1800s by builder William White, it’s a beautiful combination of Italianate and Anglo-Italianate styles. The home features five levels (the uppermost a later addition) and a simple, yet handsome façade constructed of two materials, stone on the garden level and brick above.
In 1856, shortly after the home was complete, William White sold the property to David Manners, whose family owned the property for 90 years, from the start of the Civil War until the end of World War II. The Manners family can be traced back to the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colonoy. David Manners started a wholesale grocery business in 1840, which quickly gained him affluence and notoriety. After just 14 years, he amassed enough wealth to retire and, in 1852, was elected to mayor of Jersey City and served for five consecutive terms.
He had seven children. Edwin, the most famous, lived at 287 Barrow Street his entire life. He graduated from Princeton and later attended Columbia Law School, graduating in 1879. Shortly thereafter, he became a landlord and wrote a number of diaries which have been preserved in the Architecture and Historic Preservation Collection of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy.
David Manners left the home in equal shares to his children, and as each passed away, they left their shares to the remaining siblings and daughter Virginia’s child, Harold Beekman, who eventually inherited the house and sold it in 1946. Throughout the next four decades, the home passed through a variety of owners, mainly serving as a boarding house. Eventually, in the 1980s, John V. Lyon and Charles Maynard, an architect, purchased the home and set to restoring the house to its original grandeur.
Lyon and Maynard took extensive photos showing the poor condition of the building and documented their restoration efforts. After bringing this home back to life, the two turned the house into a museum commemorating the Manners family. For their efforts, Lyon and Maynard received the J. Owen Grundy Preservation Award from the Jersey City Historical and Preservation Association in May of 1988. In 2016, the home was sold to Dixon Advisory USA.
Well versed in historically accurate renovations, the Dixon Projects team (Dixon Advisory USA’s design-build arm) is currently transforming 287 Barrow Street into a single-family home reminiscent of its historic past. Stay tuned to see this homes stunning transformation.
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