Thursday, November 19, 2009

the beaver pelt trade

Astor Place station was built under what had been private property along the west side of Astor Place, which was planned to be a transfer point for the 9th Street branch of the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (today's PATH). It lies below the former Wannamakers, currently K Mart. The station's decoration includes plaques depicting beavers, in honor of John Jacob Astor, who had made his fortune in the beaver pelt trade.


Lowell said...

Old John Jacob did make a few bucks chasing those little beavers and so did some others and pretty soon they're weren't hardly any little beavers left!

Interesting post, Ken Mac. Didn't John Jacob end up owning much of NYC too?

Glennis said...

A really neat panel showing the beavers.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Fantastic shot !! Great art work !!Unseen Rajasthan said...

this photo is really neat & an interesting bit of NY history to go along with it too.

Hilda said...

Beautiful details! And very interesting information. At least now, if I ever get to visit NYC, I won't wonder about the beaver plaques. :)

RuneE said...

It is incredible what can be found of decorations, art, memorials and such like if one only takes the bother of looking around . You do.

Dave said...

Very colourful photo Ken. - Dave

Melanie said...

I love this plaque-beavers are soo cute. I once owned a beaver jacket. Sorry.

marley said...

Glad the card finally arrived!

Great post of contrasts :)

joo said...

This one is terrific!

Melanie said...

My Mom used to use the phrase "Astor's Pet Elephant". Never really knew what that meant. Anyone????

Daryl said...

I never knew this .. about the transfer point .. fascinating .. love learning about this city's past.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how I can contact Ken Mac? I want to request permission to use a photograph from this blog for a book I'm publishing next year with Rutgers University Press.

If you have his email address (it's not listed in his profile) could you pass it on to me?


Virginia said...

Jump on that comment up there KM. I see dollar signs! :)

Now back to the line "former Wannamakers, currently Kmart." Good grief. That's an abomination I think.

I had a raccoon collar on a camel hair coat in high school. Maybe I should have gone for beaver??

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Birdman said...

Now, there's irony for you! Wonderful, historic carvings of animals painfully butchered in iron traps for their pelts.Ah, the way of the world! But I digress. I love the beautiful, intricate designs you've captured in these images. I'd miss the train a lot around here.

Anonymous said...

Huh. I'm stumped as to how to say anything that doesn't somehow sound wrong to my tender ears.

Stefan Jansson said...

Great details.

D said...

very interesting
I know a man who still traps beavers, mostly to keep them from damming up & flooding places they shouldn't. They can be a real nuisance, ya know.
Not sure if he sells the pelts, (in my state of denial, he catches them humanely & releases them in a better place), but I can assure you he's made no fortune.

cara said...

19 comments and nobody's said it... nice beaver!

NYC taxi photo said...

interesting, does this mean that tracks for the path train could bring it across town to astor place?

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