Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Main Building

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Institution Name: Marymount Manhattan College
Original/Historic Place Name: New York Junior League Clubhouse
Location on Campus: 221 E. 71st St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1929original construction Pope, John Russell
1948acquired by college and renovated
Designer: John Russell Pope
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Colonial revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: concrete and limestone
Walls: brick exterior
Roof: flat with tiling in places; fa├žade has mansard roof
 
Function:
1929-1947other (clubhouse of New York Junior League: rooms for rent, formal dining rooms, great hall, squash courts, swimming pool on 8th floor)
1948-present (2006)other (offices)
1948-present (2006)classrooms
 

Narrative:
Marymount Manhattan College began in 1936 as a two-year extension of Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY; the school was located on the top floor of a mansion at 1028 5th Avenue, then and now occupied by the Marymount School. In the early years of the college, a Roman Catholic religious order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, played a significant role. In 1948, the Junior League Clubhouse on 71st St. was purchased, and renovations were made to make it suitable for instruction. The doors opened in the fall of 1949 for what had become a four year extension of Marymount College, Tarrytown. The college attained independence in 1961 as Marymount Manhattan College.

Many features of the original building were destroyed over the years: a meeting room opening on a terrace on the 3rd floor with French windows and hand-painted Persian hunting scene motif became offices; the squash courts became classrooms; and recently the swimming pool was demolished to provide additional space for offices and classrooms. But some things have been preserved: a formal estate room, the Mezzanine on the second floor; a wooden paneled room that served for many years as the history room of the library, but then became the office of the president; the Great Hall with its three floor ceiling; and the original black and white tiled lobby.

Marymount Manhattan College's urban campus is unusual. The "campus" consists of the Main Building; a connected Nugent building on 72nd Street (built in 1972 in a deal with a contractor such that the College owns the land and occupies the basement and six floors, and the contractor has a 99 year lease on 20 stories of apartments); a thirty-one story residence hall (part of a 46 story building on 55th Street, constructed in 2000, where the college has a 2/3 condominium on the building and the developer has a 1/3 condominium on the building comprising 15 stories of luxury rental units); 8 condominium apartments (used for student housing) on 90th St. and 3rd Ave, purchased in 2002; and from time to time various rental units used for student housing.
 

References:

Marymount Manhattan College. New York, NY: Marymount Manhattan College, 1986: 2-17.

Taylor, Margaret Shaw. "The New Club House of the New York Junior League: Office of John Russell Pope, Architect." Architectural Forum 53, no. 1 (July 1930): 1-37, plates 1-16.

 

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Last update: November 2006