East Village Building Blocks

50 East 1st Street | Block : 443 | Lot #52

  • Building Date : 1872
  • Original Use : Residential
  • Original Owner : John Knopp
  • Original Architect : Theodore Beir

Description & Building Alterations

This five-story brick building was built in 1872 by owner John Knopp, who also owned the building next to it at No. 52 East 1st Street. Both were designed by architect Theodore Beir. It was originally occupied by four families on each floor and two families in the basement. In 1937, the basement was utilized for store space, though is now an apartment.

The facade features a cornice with a segmental arch central piece. The windows are decorated by bowed lintels with modillions and bracketed sills. The entrance doorway is framed with pilasters on each side and an arched door hood.

Justus H. Schwab (1847-1900) was a German-born immigrant who came to the United States in 1869. He lived with his family and operated a saloon at 50 East 1st street for over 30 years. Trained as a mason he found himself out of work following the financial Panic of 1873. He joined the German Workingmen’s Association and demanded that the City provide aid to the throngs of unemployed affected by the depression. The saloon attracted other like-minded individuals like anarchist Emma Goldman and served as an epicenter for transformative social action. GVSHP’s first historic plaque marks the location of the Justus Schwab Saloon on the building.


Block : 443 / Lot : 052 / Building Date : 1872 / Original Owner : John Knopp / Original Use : Residential/ Original Architect : Theodore Beir

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