Birthplace of the Teddy Bear

404 Tompkins Avenue, 1880s, Architect: Unknown

404 Tompkins is a typical red-brick tenement building with a pressed-metal cornice. It also happens to be the birthplace of the teddy bear. At the turn of the 20th century, the ground-floor commercial space was occupied by  and whose ground store commercial space was once occupied by Rose and Morris Mitchom Russian-Jewish immigrants, who became another great immigrant success story in New York City. President Theodore Roosevelt was known for his near-fanatical hunting hobby, but in 1902 he spared the death of a baby bear. Political cartoons depicted the bear in the papers, and the Mitchoms turned the bear as a stuffed novelty toy. The Mitchoms received permission from the White House to use the term 'teddy bear' for their creation. The name stuck, and their bear became so popular that full-time production was devoted to producing teddies. The Mitchoms’ invention became the symbol of the Republican Party in 1904, and eventually grew to form the Ideal Toy Company, which remained in the family until the 1970s. The original teddy bear survives, and can be viewed at the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C.