Thursday, July 21, 2011

Arsonist Destroys Two Historic Garages--Lost Irvington

In the early morning hours of July 14, 2011, an arsonist(s) destroyed two original Irvington garages on Julian Avenue and Hawthorne Lane. Many historic detached garages still exist today, but the numbers have dwindled over the years due to changing standards, neglect, and vandalism. Many of the early structures were built to accommodate one car, most likely the Model T. Over time, Irvingtonians expanded the structures so that their larger Buicks and Pontiacs could fit into the small buildings. Both of the garages burned this summer were in good shape and used by their owners.

The garage shown in this post used to sit behind 81 North Hawthorne Lane until its demise on July 14, 2011. It was in excellent shape and had actually served as the garage for veteran television newscaster, Howard Caldwell's family in the mid-twentieth century. It is very sad that someone has found a thrill destroying part of our neighborhood's heritage.

This picture was taken by photographer Bruce Oertel on the winter evening of February 5, 2011.


  1. Great photo. Terrible loss.

  2. FYI...It is now almost three years after the fact and the neighbor to the south still refuses to clean up the debris in their back yard from the fire. We have offered to assist in the clean up. Our offer to clean it up for free was declined. The prior owner to the home when the fire occurred verified the debris in the back yard has not moved in the three years since the fire.

    This is a hazard and is attracting rodents and the wood is soaked and has dry rot. Complaints to the city have been filed but they will not do anything about it. If anyone has any thoughts on how to deal with this let me know.


  3. I am so sorry, Susan. It does sound like a Board of Health issue, but I am sure you have been down that path.