J. L. Mott Iron Works
2403 Third Avenue
sections c. 1860s; main building: Babcock & McAvoy,1882; expanded c. 1890s
Jordan L. Mott, inventor of the first coalfired cooking stove, established his first iron works in Lower Manhattan in 1828. After he purchased a large tract in the Bronx in 1841 to create the hamlet of Mott Haven, he moved his manufacturing operation to a choice location on the Harlem River between the Third Avenue bridge and the newly opened New York and Harlem Railroad line. The earliest buildings were of wood frame construction and burned down at least twice. Mott kept rebuilding and the oldest surviving parts of the complex, the twin gabled-ended sheds in the northwest corner, likely date to the 1860s. The much larger five-story brick buildings were built a couple decades later, at the beginning of the neighborhood’s transit-sparked boom. The long and narrow structure has a narrow decorative façade on Third Avenue and patterned brickwork spelling out “The J. L. Mott Iron Works” on the facade facing the river. As it grew, the company expanded its product line, producing a whole range of household goods such as tubs and sinks, as well as decorative work like fountains and fences. Many drain and manhole covers in the neighborhood still bear the foundry stamp of the J. L. Mott Iron Works. In 1902 the company announced it was moving to Trenton, NJ. Mott Haven, now the dense neighborhood originally envisioned by Jordan Mott, apparently no longer had open space for the works to expand. Today the buildings house a variety of commercial tenants.