The Benziger-Abraham House
21 units for singles
Broadway Housing Communities transformed this former brothel into a New York City Historic Landmark permanently housing 21 formerly homeless adults.
The former mansion was constructed in 1880, designed by the prominent architect, William Schickel for the Benziger family, a successful publisher. It was officially designated a Historic Landmark in January 1999 by the New York City Landmarks Commission. Listing on the National Registry of Historic Places is pending.
The clay tile roof marked by numerous gabled dormers has recently been restored and has a lifetime guarantee, protecting one of Harlem’s last remaining freestanding mansions. The restoration received a 2002 Award from the Metropolitan Chapter of The Victorian Society in America.
The Benziger/Abraham House has made an annual tradition of “Family and Friends Day” when the children of tenants, grandchildren, relatives and friends and neighbors gather for an afternoon of outdoor dining and music in the Jimmy Jervis Garden. The large garden of flowers, grapevines and chestnut trees surrounding the house is named in memory of James Jervis, an original tenant at The Heights, Broadway Housing’s first project.
The Benziger House was constructed in 1890-91 in a section of Harlem that still resembled a country village. The house was the residence of Agnes Benziger and her husband Nicholas, a successful publisher, manufacturer and importer of religious books and articles. Designed by the prominent German architect William Schuckel, the mansion features a flared mansard roof pierced by numerous gabled dormers and a richly colored iron-spot brick façade. The building remained in the Benziger family until 1920 when it became part of a medical institution. In 1989, the property was acquired, with support from the City of New York and the Abraham family, to provide permanent housing for homeless adults.