Hugh O'Neill Dry Goods Store
655-71 6th Avenue, Mortimer Merritt [1876]

Along with B. Altman, this cast-iron building was one of first large retail establishments in the area, supplanting a group of Gothic Revival row houses near the Church of the Holy Communion. The owner, Hugh O'Neill, was a highly competitive businessman who attracted a predominantly middle-class clientele to his store with discount offers on the newly popular sewing machines and other items. The store was somewhat short-lived, merging with the adjacent Adams Dry Goods Store after O'Neill's death before it closed for good in 1915.

The building's highly ordered facade is marked by Corinthian columns and pilasters and it is painted white to look like stone. A projecting central section surmounted by a rooftop pediment bearing the owner's name balances two round corner towers (formerly capped with gold domes) and breaks up the monotony of the regular facade. The architects were careful to provide large, wide ground-floor shop windows and a distinctive second-floor facade intended to be seen from the 'El.'

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