Captain Joseph Rose House

273 Water Street
c. 1773-81; reconstruction: Oliver Lundquist

This Georgian style house is the oldest building in the South Street Seaport Historic District and the third oldest in Manhattan (after the Morris-Jumel Mansion and St. Paul’s Chapel). Captain Rose was in the business of transporting mahogany from the Bay of Honduras to the New York market. Because Rose spent a lot of time away at sea, he rented the building out to merchants and their families. In the 1860s, Christopher “Kit” Burns kept a tavern here and made this building infamous by hosting rat and dog fights as entertainment for patrons. According to the district’s designation report, the original entranceway was likely located at the northernmost bay, where a single brownstone lintel remains, and the original cartway was at the southernmost bay of the building. The remaining original portions of the façade include the Flemish bond brickwork and two of the wood sills on the second story. A brownstone belt course divides the first from the second story. Splayed brownstone lintels distinguish the second story from the later ones above. A fire in 1904 destroyed the original third story and peaked roof, thus the wall above the second band course dates to some time after 1904. Another fire in 1974 gutted the interior. Two years later, the building was seized by the City for unpaid taxes and sat abandoned for two decades. In 1997, Frank Sciame, Jr. of the Sciame Development Company bought the building for $1.00 and converted it into four luxury apartments.

The Captain Joseph Rose House is located in the New York City and State and National Register of Historic Places South Street Seaport historic districts.