191 / JAMES N. WELLS SONS / James P. Eadie / REAL ESTATE /
SALES LEASING MANAGEMENT / INSURANCE / On This Spot Since 1835
Prior to 1870 James N. Wells, "agent" or "real estate", was located at 167 Ninth Ave. It is not clear whether this was a different building, or whether re-addressing of the same building took place...
The original James N. Wells founded his real estate business on Manhattan's West Side in 1819. He appears in Longworth's New York City Directory in 1835 as Wells James N. carpenter Avenue 9th between Twenty-first and Twenty-second h. 71 Twenty-second.
He appears in the US Census for 1850 (16th Ward, pg. 252) as age 60, Land Agent, born New York, with wife Rachel, 59 and children Julia A.O., Emma, John R. and Josephine L., ages 20 down to 13.
The first entry in New York City Directories for a James N. Wells Jr. is in 1879. Possibly, this was a grandson of the original James N. Wells...
The first appearance of the firm name James N. Wells Sons is in 1907.
James P. Eadie (1869-1942) joined the firm "in a minor capacity" (New York Times obituary) in 1890. He became a partner of William J. Wells [who he?] in 1908 and "assumed complete ownership and control of the business upon the death of Mr. Wells in 1913" (Times obit again). The sign, then, is likely no earlier than 1913 and could be much later since James P. Eadie continued to run the business until his death in 1942.
In 1933/4 the principals at James N. Wells Sons were James P. Eadie, pres.; John Morgan, vice-pres.; and Ross F. Eadie (James P.'s son) secretary-treasurer.
In 1989 James N. Wells Sons was acquired by Stribling and Associates (Elizabeth Stribling, pres.).
For the current (Nov. 2002) condition of this sign click here. Interestingly, some elements are clearer now than they were 16 years ago. But almost all of the color has disappeared. Somebody cleaned this sign, very, very carefully!
A photograph dated 1940 on the New York Public Library's Digital Collections shows real estate signs for James N. Wells and C. M. Eadie (Colin M. Eadie) on a building at 521-523 West 23rd St.
A photograph showing this stretch of Ninth Avenue and the James N. Wells sign is found in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York. This is dated ca. 1977, and is a photo by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr., who did the photographs in Margot Gayle's Cast-Iron Architecture in New York (1974).
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