Schermerhorn Row (1811-1812 and 1850)
2-18 Fulton St. (2-12: 1811, 14-18: 1812); 189-195 Front St. (1812); 159-171 John St.; 91-92 South St.

Situated on landfill extending 600 feet beyond the original shoreline, these six counting houses were built as a speculative venture by the merchant and ship owner Peter Schermerhorn. Designed to serve the modest sailing ship trade and small business economy of early 19th century New York, these buildings are among the best surviving examples of the counting house type. Built as a group like residential row houses, counting houses represent an early phase in the development of commercial architecture in New York when buildings had not yet acquired architectural individuality based on their function. Combining Federal Style and Greek Revival elements, these structures evolved from 18th century English counting halls, which had derived from 17th century market halls. The structures' simple Flemish bond brick walls and plain white stone lintels and sills contrast with their more elaborate doorways. Dormer windows were added later and project from steeply pitched roofs. Chimneys and party walls were built high to prevent the spread of fire across rooftops. Purchased in 1974 by New York State, Schermerhorn Row received landmark designation in 1977, effectively halting the northward expansion of the financial district.