Entry in progress—B.P.
The New York Preservation Archive Project
House of Genius
Also known as Red Row and Genius Row
Greenwich Village’s House of Genius was the iconic home of many writers and artists. Despite a preservation struggle, it was demolished in 1948.
The House of Genius once stood at 61 Washington Square South overlooking Washington Square Park. The four-story red brick rowhouse stood among several red brick rowhouses between West Broadway and Thompson Street, and was referred to by Greenwich Village residents as the “Red Row” or “Genius Row.” Madame Blanchard, a Swiss native, began leasing the house in 1886 from banker James Speyer. She converted the single family dwelling into a boarding house for writers, artists, and musicians. The interior of her second floor apartment featured walls “covered with paintings of artists, some now famous, others gone.” The third and fourth floors were also emblazoned with artistic murals and poetry etched by the former guests.
Ephemeral New York
The block known as “Genius Row” in the Village
February 28, 2011
Stephen Crane (at left), O. Henry, Willa Cather, opera singer Adelina Patti—they all spent time bunking in one of the red brick row houses on Washington Square South between Thompson Street and LaGuardia Place.
Dubbed “Genius Row” because of its brain trust of creative residents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the block was dominated by one row house in particular: the “House of Genius” at 61 Washington Square South.
Off the Grid (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)
The Ghost of Preservation Battles Past: The House of Genius
BY SHERYL – JANUARY 12, 2012
POSTED IN: WEST VILLAGE
61 Washington Square South, before it was demolished in 1948, was known as the House of Genius, part of the so-called genius row named for the artists and writers who made the red brick houses between West Broadway (now LaGuardia Place) and Thompson Street home for the latter half of the twentieth century. Number 61 was leased by a woman named Madame Blanchard, who converted the single family dwelling into a boarding house for writers, artists, and musicians. Notable residents of the building included Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Alan Seeger, and Stephen Crane. The demolition of the House of Genius and Genius Row was one of the Village’s earliest preservation battles.