Somehow, when I walked the length of Prince Street in SoHo in 2012, I missed this little gem of a building at #203, just east of 6th Avenue. The building is a 3-story brick residence combining Federal and Greek Revival styling and has been preserved, or more likely restored, to look the way it did when it was completed in 1834 for leather inspector John Haff. Here’s how it looked in 1940. Originally constructed with two stories, a third was added in 1888.
In the colonial period, this land was owned by vice president and murderer Aaron Burr, whose estate in what would be called SoHo and the West Village was called Richmond Hill; there are also regions of the same name in Queens and Staten Island (where Burr breathed his last in 1836). Burr occupies a unique niche in American history, patriot and villain all wrapped in one confusing whole.
The building was given NYC Landmarks designation in 1974, fairly early on because the Landmarks Preservation Commission was founded in 1965. According to Tom “Daytonian in Manhattan” Miller, the building has served as a parish house for the now-vanished Episcopal Church of Saint Ambrose and also as a funeral home; today it’s a quiet private residence.