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339 W. 29th St.

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Former home of prominent abolitionists

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Laurence Frommer

This 1840’s townhouse was once the home of prominent nineteenth century family of abolitionists/social reformers: Abigail Hopper Gibbons, her husband, James Sloan Gibbons, and Isaac T. Hopper (Father of Mrs.Gibbons.) Several eyewitness accounts confirm that the house was an important stop on the “Underground Railroad.” The house is the only documented Underground Railroad Safe House still standing in Manhattan. The eye witness accounts are from VERY reputable sources. Horace Greely, Ralph Waldo Emerson and countless other prominent figures of the time knew the Hopper-Gibbons family well and dined at their home many times, with fugitive Slaves at the table. Emerson’s nephew married a daughter of the Gibbons.

Despite all this, the house has no historic landmark protection whatsoever.

A stop order was put in effect in autumn of 2007, due to alterations being made and several incongruities in the papers filed. The matter has not as yet been calendared for a hearing at the Landmarks Commision. Alteration of the corniceline and rooftop may need to be reversed. (June 2008)

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