Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Designation of Murray Hill on the National Register of Historic Places

The Preservation & Design Committee hosted a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Murray Hill’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2003, 88 historic and architecturally important structures in Murray Hill were listed on the prestigious register. The boundaries were then expanded in 2013 for a total of 239 buildings including those in the Murray Hill Historic District and the Sniffen Court Historic District. To commemorate these milestones, banners highlighting historic architectural details in Murray Hill are adorning light poles in the designated area, which runs from 34th to 39th Streets and Third Avenue to Madison Avenue. Activities such as walking tours, lectures, and the 2024 Park Avenue Day street festival are also planned.

The National Register designation acknowledged the diverse architectural styles in Murray Hill including Beaux Arts, Georgian, Romanesque Revival, and Empire, designed by eminent architects like McKim, Mead & White, C.P.H. Gilbert, Hoppin & Koen, William Adams Delano, and Horace Trumbauer. It also acknowledged some of the famous people who made their homes here, including Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Dana Gibson, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, and Admiral David Farragut of “Damn the Torpedoes!” fame. Most importantly, the Murray family, who settled here in the 1750s, and in particular, Mary Lindley Murray, whose role in the American Revolutionary War was pivotal, were also cited. A DAR plaque from 1903 at 37th and Park marks the site of the Murray home, and recounts Mary Murray’s cunning and bravery.

Actors from Murray Hill’s Snarks and Amateur Comedy Club brought to life Mary Murray’s role in the early days of the American Revolutionary War whereby legend has it that she and her daughters detained the British General Howe at her home long enough for Washington and his troops to escape north and to fight another day. 

The Snarks and Amateur Comedy Club opened the program with beautiful flute performances and rousing renditions of “My Country, Tis of Thee,” “America the Beautiful,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” They were sung with pride by the many celebrants who gathered on the clearest of spring days, amidst the cherry red tulips and pink cherry blossoms all abloom on the Park Avenue malls, to mark this important milestone. The program closed with the singing of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” by those assembled.

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