6-28 East 8th Street


Title of Installation:

6 - 28 East Eighth Street (Except #10) and the North side of Washington Mews

Materials Used:

Ceramic tiles

General Description:

The facades of these buildings--with the exception of # 10, which was extensively remodeled--were decorated with individual and groups of tiles. The entrance foyers of the buildings on Eighth Street also had tile work.

Technical Information (Size,mfg., etc.):

The tiles were manufactured by the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works of Doylestown, PA (http://www.buckscounty.org/government/departments/tileworks/visitus.aspx), which was founded by Henry Chapman Mercer

"(b. June 24, 1856, Doylestown, Pennsylvania – d. March 2, 1930, Doylestown) [who] was an American archeologist, artifact collector, tile-maker and designer of three distinctive poured concrete structures: Fonthill, his home, the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and the Mercer Museum." (http://www.amazon.com/wiki/Henry_Chapman_Mercer/ref=ntt_at_bio_wiki)

"...the [Pennsylvania State] Capitol [in Harrisburg has]...the largest single collection of Mercer's tiles... . The casino at Monte Carlo, Rockefeller's New York estate in Pocantico Hills, and Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood all boast Mercer tiles in quantity. After the completion of the Capitol commission, Mercer went on to build his own unique house called Fonthill, located adjacent to his tile works in Doylestown. The innovation of this domestic structure lay in Mercer's use of reinforced concrete. Although reinforced concrete was commonly used for industrial buildings (Mercer had already utilized this kind of concrete for his tile factory and his museum), it was an unusual building material for a house. Reinforced concrete, coarse-textured and unconcealed, covers both the exterior and interior of Fonthill. Mercer was one of the first artists in the United States to recognize the aesthetic value of exposed concrete for a modern structure. He also built his own museum to house the artifacts of Americana that he had collected. Today the Mercer Museum is home to over forty thousand artifacts of early American society." (http://cpc.state.pa.us/cpcweb/web/guest/henry-chapman-mercer)

Year Created:

The buildings on East 8th Street and the North side of Washington Mews were remodeled c. 1916-1917 by Maynicke & Franke.* 

Year Installed, if different:

The photos below from the c. 1916-1917 remodeling show the installed tile work.

Does Installation Still Exist?


Location of Installation:

6-28 East 8th Street and the North side of Washington Mews

New York, NY

Directions to Installation:

Washington Mews is a private street owned by New York University and is situated between Fifth avenue and University Place about 100 feet South of Eighth Street and the Eighth Street buildings.

Additional Information, Websites, Citations:

Other material about Henry Mercer and his Moravian Pottery and Tile Works are:

"Henry Chapman Mercer: An Annotated Chronology" by Linda F. Dyke in The Journal of the Bucks County Historical Society, V. 6, No. 2-3, Spring/Summer 1989, and Cleota Reed's biography of Mercer, Henry Chapman Mercer and the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works (1996).

The 2010 AIA Guide to New York City, pages 131-133, has information about both complexes. 

*"Remodelling Old City Homes" in Architecture, Vol. XXXVII, No. 5, May 1918, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, NY, pp. 117-124.

Submitted by and Year:

Michael Padwee (tileback101"at"collector.org); October 2011.

Color photos courtesy of Michael Padwee

20 East 8th Street

Hallway floor tiles on 8th Street

Other residential buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn make use of Moravian tiles for decorative purposes on their exteriors. 139 East 19th Street, Manhattan--the Frederick Sterner House (remodeled in 1908 by Mr. Sterner)--is one such building, and it has been written about in the New York Times by Christopher Gray. (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/29/realestate/streetscapes-frederick-sterner-house-139-east-19th-street-architect-who-turned.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm).

The Sterner House
          (From Architecture, Vol. XXIII, No. 3, March 15, 1911)

A Brooklyn residence that makes extensive decorative use of Moravian tilework is at 316 Garfield Place in Park Slope. Built in 1911 "The very fine brickwork is inset with decorative vari-colored glazed tile and colored brick." (From p. 62 of the Park Slope Historic District Designation Report, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1973.)

Another Manhattan residence at 370 Central Park West had an entry hall paved with Moravian tiles and a fireplace of Moravian tilework. It was built in 1917-18:
(From "Two Modern Apartments for City and Country", Architecture, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 4, October 1918, p. 286)

Another Manhattan building with significant Moravian tile ornamentation is 165 West 72nd Street:

Washington Mews (North Side)

42 Washington Mews

Today, although the tile floor remains, the tiled mantel and surround no longer exist as they did in 1918: