Tenement Building at 97 Orchard Street

Also known as: Lower East Side Tenement Museum
97 Orchard St., New York, New York



This six-story brick tenement is an outstanding survivor of the vast number of humble buildings that housed immigrants to New York during the greatest wave of immigration in American history. Erected in 1863-64, it represents the first rush of tenement building in New York City. The top two floors of this 97 Orchard Street contain rooms, wallpaper, plumbing, and lighting preserved as they were left almost 60 years ago, when they were boarded up and sealed until their discovery in 1988. Something of an urban time machine, the building is able to convey a vivid sense of the deplorable living conditions experienced by its tenants, which, during its 72-year tenure as housing, may have numbered as many as 10,000. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, April 19, 1994

National Register information 

Note: The following information comes from the NRHP database and has not been verified.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 19, 1992
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Italianate
Areas of significance
Social History; Architecture; Ethnic Heritage - European
Levels of significance
National; Local
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction; A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Multiple dwelling; Specialty store
Current function
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1850-1874
Significant years
1863; 1901; 1905