Waterman

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Spingler House. The site of the Spingler Building was initially part of a farm owned by Henry Spingler (or Springler). Union Square was first laid out in the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, expanded in 1832, and then made into a public park in 1839. The completion of the park led to the construction of mansions surrounding it, which were largely replaced with commercial enterprises following the Civil War. Despite this, the Spingler and Van Buren families continued to own the land under the western side of Union Square until 1958, leasing it out to various people. The Spingler Institute for Young Ladies, founded in 1843, was located at 5 Union Square West from 1848 until c. 1861, at which point it was turned into the Spingler Hotel. The hotel operated from 1864 until about 1878. By the late 1870s, technological advances in elevator technology and steel framework enabled the construction of taller office buildings. The original Spingler Building, a five-story loft and commercial structure on the site of the hotel, was completed in 1878 at a cost of $115,000. The Spingler Building was a “L”-shaped structure wrapping around the Tiffany & Co. building at 15 Union Square West to the northeast, with a depth of 200 feet (61 m) on Union Square West, along its eastern facade, and 70 feet (21 m) on 15th Street to the north. The structure housed the Brentano’s book store. At the time, The New York Times said: “the block is now occupied by uniform buildings […] the front is of iron, imposing in appearance, and the shops and lofts are of the first class.” In 1892, the structure burned down in a fire that destroyed everything below the second floor, but only caused minor damage to its neighbors: the Lincoln Building (to the south) and 15 Union Square West. The charred walls of the old building remained standing for several years.

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