Bayside’s Ahles House finally receives long-overdue landmark status

ahles house
Photo: QNS/Katarina Hybenova

A beautiful and historic Bayside house finally received the recognition it rightfully deserves.

The Lydia Ann Bell and William Ahles House, a 19th-century home located at 39-26 213th St., was designated as an official city landmark on April 12.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously voted to designate the iconic Bayside building as a New York City Landmark alongside seven other properties that were prioritized for designation at LPC’s February public meeting.

Built only a few years after the railroad service reached Bayside, the Ahles House was built in 1873 by farmer Robert M. Bell for his daughter Lydia and her husband John William Ahles, who was a prominent grain merchant and officer of the New York Product Exchange. The family owned the house until the 1940s. The Ahles House is the only remaining structure from many Second Empire buildings erected in Bayside during the 1870s and 1880s.

In 1924, the house was relocated from its original location to allow Christy Street (now 213th Street) to be cut through to 41st Avenue. Later, architect Lewis E. Walsh simplified the building’s façade, which included the removal of the original wrap-around porches, the replacement of the original clapboards with stucco, and the installation of new paneled doors and multi-pane windows. The architect also introduced a sleeping porch in the style of the Arts-and-Crafts-infused Colonial Revival aesthetic of the 1920s.

“The relocation and alterations of the Ahles House are significant in their own right because they reflect the historical context of the transformation of Bayside to a commuter suburb in the early 20th century,” said LPC chair Srinivasan. “Today this house is thought to be one of the oldest surviving in Bayside.”

According to public records, the Ahles House is was purchased in 2007 for $300,000 by Robert Rubin.

In addition to landmarking the Ahles House, LPC granted protection also to 65 Schofield Street House in the Bronx; Green-Wood Cemetery (Fort Hamilton Parkway Entrance and Chapel) and Van Sicklen House in Brooklyn; 57 Sullivan Street House and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Parish House and Rectory in Manhattan; the Pepsi Cola Sign and the Lydia Ann Bell and J. Williams Ahles House in Queens; and the Vanderbilt Mausoleum in Staten Island.

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