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Guide to the Winston Weisman Soho Historic District Collection
circa 1950-1973
depicting structures circa 1850 - 1970
 PR 73

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Ricky Hunter

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 20, 2022
Description is in English.

Container List

Series V. Laing Stores Project

Scope and Contents note

One of Weisman's first tasks as a commissioned consultant to the New York City Landmarks was to oversee the dismantling of the historic Laing Stores, the oldest block of cast iron in America and one of the earliest milestones of modernism, designed in 1849 by the mechanical engineer and inventor James Bogardus (1800 -- 1874). The Smithsonian Institution sponsored Weisman's photographic documentation of the event as a part of a traveling exhibition in the 1970's.

This series consists of exhibition information and a daily journal of disassembly of the Laing Stores, made by field supervisor Benjamin Walbert. A selection of photos from eighteen rolls of film taken during the disassembly project is available in this series, as both negatives and prints.

This series in unique in giving both a history of the design and construction of an important building in combination with its dismantling and partial reassembly, and revealing the interrelationship of brick and timber construction with the use of cast iron facades.

The real estate on which the Laing Stores stood was turned over to the City University of New York for the projected Manhattan Community College, in exchange for which the CUNY, agreed to re-erect the Laing building within the college complex. The iron sections were placed in a storage area. This projected project was never brought to fruition. These sections were later to be part of another never begun project as part of the Washington Market Urban Renewal Project. The Bogardus Building on the South Street Seaport Museum block was then originally designed as an armature to house the cast iron components of the Laing Stores. Unfortunately, the valuable pieces were stolen for scrap metal in two incidents (1974, 1977). The Bogardus Building was built with a façade using a concept of exposed steel, an abstraction of Bogardus' original design, which inspired this new building but no longer containing any of the original ironwork of the Laing Stores.

In 1990, Weisman donated two architectural pieces of decorative elements from the Laing Stores, designed by William L. Miller, that are located in Decorative Arts at the New-York Historical Society.


This series is divided into two subseries: reports and prints.


Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 87 Folder : 913 Laing Stores Survey 1971
journal of disassembly by Benjamin Walbert
copies of demolition company's daily reports

Box: 87 Folder : 914 Disassembly of the Laing Stores
preliminary report and rough draft of press releases

Box: 87 Folder : 915 exhibition text and published brochure


Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 87 Folder : 916 used for Historic American Buildings Survey
Box: 87 Folder : 917-920 Roll #1 -- Roll #4
Box: 88 Folder : 921-934 Roll #5 -- Roll #18
Box: 88 Folder : 935 miscellaneous, including shots of workmen involved in disassembly
Box: 97 oversize prints from Laing Stores Project exhibition (1 of 2)
Box: 98 oversize prints from Laing Stores Project exhibition (2 of 2)

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