Submitted by scott on

The firm also ran the "Chickering Hall" concert auditorium in New York City at no.130 Fifth Avenue, 1875-1901. The building was situated on the north-west corner (not north-east contrary to some sources) of Fifth Avenue and West Eighteenth Street, and was the venue for Oscar Wilde's first lecture in America. [Source: New York 1880: Architecture and Urbanism in the Gilded Age, Robert A.M. Stern (Author), Thomas Mellins (Author), David Fishman (Author)].

Chickering Hall, considered one of the finest designs by architect George B. Post (1837-1913), was located on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 18th Street in the entertainment district around Union Square. Built at a cost of $175,000, the four-story structure was faced with red brick and trimmed in brownstone and gray marble, and had a tiled hipped roof. It was erected by Chickering & Sons, the piano manufacturer based in Boston, to house a music store, warehouse and concert hall. The 1,450-seat auditorium, known as Chickering Hall, occupied the second and third floor space. It opened on Monday evening, November 15th, 1875, with a concert by the internationally renowned pianist Hans von Bülow and Leopold Damrosch's orchestra (which in 1878 became the New York Symphony Society).

In addition to musical concerts, Chickering Hall programs included lectures by Oscar Wilde and Thomas H. Huxley, operas, religious conferences, and even the first interstate telephone call—made by Alexander Graham Bell in 1877—to New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

Chickering Hall's popularity lasted less than two decades, since many smaller events formerly held there had been moved to the new Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and popular concert entertainment had found a new home at Carnegie Hall. Moreover, the 25-year lease on the property could not be renewed, so a move would be necessary. Chickering & Sons transferred the agency for city piano sales to the John Wanamaker stores, and by 1893 the building had been completely transformed to retail space. In 1901, the building was sold, to be razed and replaced by a store and loft building.

Twain and Cable Tour November 18 & 19, 1884 


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