Murphy Varnish Works

McWhorter, Vesey, and Chestnut Sts., Newark, New Jersey

The one remaining building of the Murphy Varnish Co., now luxury apartments.


Murphy Varnish 1

Photo taken by Chester Gehman May 1985



Street View 


The Murphy Varnish Company was in business from 1865 to 1950. Before the Murphy Company, all quality varnish had to be imported from England. At its height, the company covered almost three square blocks; the one remaining building, designed by Howard Chapman, has been converted to residences known as Murphy Varnish Lofts. The founder of Murphy Varnish, Franklin Murphy, later became New Jersey's 31st governor, 1902-1905.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 9, 1979
Reference number
Architectural styles
Victorian; Victorian: Italianate; Other architectural type; Richardsonian Romanesque
Areas of significance
Industry; Architecture; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction; B - Person
Property type
Historic function
Manufacturing facility
Current function
Manufacturing facility
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874
Significant years
1865; 1905
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 6

Update Log 

  • December 13, 2019: New photos from Chester Gehman
  • December 13, 2019: Updated by Chester Gehman: Added description; present use.
  • June 20, 2017: New Street View added by Michael Miller