Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Known locally as "the pregnant oyster," this center for the arts was a gift from the US to Berlin in 1957.
At the corner of E 93rd Street and Park Avenue in New York City’s Carnegie Hill neighborhood, built atop one of the highest points in Manhattan, a five-story Neo-Federal mansion anchors four adjoining buildings to create a magnificent complex in the city. Together the five residential buildings are collectively named the George F. Baker Jr. House.
Completed in 1918, the principal residence was originally built and occupied by financier Francis F. Palmer. Nearly a decade later, it was purchased by George F. Baker, Jr and his wife Edith who commissioned the prestigious Beaux-Arts architecture firm Delano & Aldrich to design additions to the property.
Baker Jr. added a garage, a ballroom wing, and even his own railroad line built in the basement, linking his private railroad car to the tracks running under Park Avenue. Later on, he added a private townhouse residence for his father – George F. Baker, Sr. a successful philanthropist and financier known as the “Dean of American Banking”, and had made his fortune after the Civil War in the railroad industry – the doorway to this residence is seen above.
Despite his intentions, Baker’s father never moved in. The house was completed in 1931, but George Baker Sr. passed away at his home on Madison Avenue before ever stepping foot into the new home. At the time of his death, he was the third richest man in the U.S., behind Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller.
The House was passed down through the generations. In 1958, Edith sold the Main House and it was converted into and used as a school for a short time. After years of changing ownership, the entire complex was added as a group to the National Register of Historic Places.
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