During a stroll through Hamilton Park’s tree-lined blocks of brownstones and row houses, one long brick building with the words “Wells Fargo” on the front stands out. But instead of bank tellers, ATMs and the hustle and bustle of a banking branch, the century-old building once housed key components to the early days of cross-country mail delivery.
While recognized in modern times for the company’s banking division, Wells Fargo was initially founded in 1852 to provide express mail and banking services to California and the emerging western United States. The company, founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo, gradually took over portions of several western mail routes including the Pony Express. At one point in their history, they operated the largest stagecoach empire in the world, a point the company still acknowledges to this day by their logo and slogan of “Together, We’ll Go Far.”
As part of their operations, Wells Fargo built their Hamilton Park complex in 1890, originally using it as stables and a storage facility for their horses and carts. The company regularly stowed many of their iconic six-horse Concord Coach wagons in the building, located downtown at 299 Pavonia Avenue.
The building went through a few transitions over the years before being re-imagined into the spacious lofts they are today. During World War I, the U.S. government actually took over Wells Fargo’s express franchise as part of the war effort, which led to the building being utilized to repair railroad equipment that was then used as part of the delivery process.
In 1982, Seibert Pavonia Corporation converted the building into what are now the Wells Fargo Lofts, taking the block-long property and adapting it into 31 residential condominiums. Many of the historic features of the structure were preserved as part of the renovation, including the trademark oversized windows and original ceiling trusses.
The one, two and three bedroom units all feature at least 14-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and unique architectural features such as keyhole walls and columns. The building’s condos are notably oversized for the Jersey City market, with one 3-bed, 3-bath unit sporting a whopping 7,700 square feet of living space.
Last year, a top floor unit in the building with 5,000 square foot of living space was listed for rent at $7,000/month. Arguably one of the most unique listings to ever hit the Jersey City market, the custom designed loft boasted 50 foot ceilings, a whopping 21 skylights and a wood burning fireplace, also sporting a home office, lounge, gourmet chef’s kitchen, home theater and full service wet bar.
The building, which was once home to horses and hay, now has a digital doorman system, showing that as society has gradually evolved from Concord Coach mail deliveries to checking an e-mail inbox, the Wells Fargo Lofts have also kept pace with the times.
[gmap height=”250px”]299 Pavonia Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302[/gmap]
299 Pavonia Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302