New York City

Located a couple of blocks from the ‘Greenway’ by the Hudson River, at 177 Christopher Street this sign hangs on a four story factory building that been converted to living residences linking to New York City’s past, specifically the waterfront as an area active with maritime bustling business supporting all the ships that docked a stone’s throw away on the Hudson. This sign for Meier and Oelhaf Co. Inc has been preserved by the efforts of the Greenwich Historical Society that had the signage and 177 Christopher Street historically recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, actually noted in its 2006 report of the Weehawken Street Historic District Designation Report because of its significance. The factory designed by architect William J. Fryer, Jr. and built & constructed by builder Richard Shapter in 1883-1884 was home to four firms whose principal occupation was maritime support including marine plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical and repair contracting originally designated 167 Christopher Street but in 1885 was rezoned to 177 Christopher Street.
Two German immigrants Frank Meier and Carl Frederick Oelhaf founded the firm of Meier & Oelhaf Co. Inc in 1905. In 1920, 177 Christopher Street was purchased by Carl and Mary Oelhaf and Meier & Oelhaf Co. Inc moved to this location from West Street. Their services included marine plumbing, coppersmithing, steam fitting, tin, sheet iron and brass working. They advertised ship work of descriptions which basically meant, they’d do anything ship related. Even though the last listing for the business was in 1980, the sign persisted. So while the four story factory was purchased to be repurposed as a residential structure, the signs that points back to the locale’s involvement in New York City’s maritime past were preserved. One can imagine how these streets now full of tourist and running & bicycling local residents going back and forth was once filled with surly sailors, merchant marines and others tending to the many ships docked just a short walk away, businesses such as Meier & Oelhaf Co., hospices/hotels and saloons there to service the maritime type of cliental. The first time I laid eyes on the sign in the late 1970’s, there were still docks down the street, kind of abandoned and in disarray as I recall. Looking closely at the sign, rust is evident along its edges and even bled down within the large white letters that probably dates back to the 1950’s.
Taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Posted by Themarrero on 2016-09-18 13:08:30



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