Thursday, July 27, 2017


                                        Archival image courtesy NYPL
Harlem Bespoke:  Who can guess the location of this Harlem countryside scene taken circa 1870?  This is probably one of rarest photos on file to show the village-like nature of upper Manhattan in the 19th century and one local landmark is very apparent.    Those familiar with the churches in the neighborhood might be able to guess this one.  An updated photo will be published later on in the week.

The church in the distance is St. Joseph's at the corner of Morningside Avenue on 125th Street. This vantage point is probably around 7th Avenue looking north towards the village of Manhattanville to the west.  More on St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church can be found in our past post: LINK 2017


  1. Let me brave some guesses--this is looking northeast toward Mount Morris, during the construction of Central Park? Then where is the firetower? Or is it looking southwest, which makes the high ground Morningside Heights? I guess the trick is to find out which church that is, because there weren't so many with such a tall belltower in 1870. But are there any such structures from the period with an East-West axis? So maybe it's looking southeast from the bottom of Convent Avenue? Or is the high ground Hamilton or Washington Heights seen from the Harlem Valley? Is the water the remainder of the old Harllem Creek? I'm clearly flummoxed...Please, someone put me out of my misery!

    1. My guess is that is the Church of St. Joseph and the Holy Family at Morningside and 125th St. which makes that hill where St. Nicholas Park and City College is now located.

  2. is this the church on 125 and Morningside Ave? St. Joseph??

  3. Looking West toward St. Josephs steeple, Point of Rocks and St. Nicholas park is the wooded hill to the right. This puts the location of the photographer at about 124th & FDB.

  4. Could it be the Catholic church on the northwest corner of what's now Morningside & 125th?