Historical Spotlight: 109 Sussex Street

On a quiet block of Sussex Street in the heart of the Paulus Hook Historic District, you'll find a lively mix of handsome buildings from multiple eras. At one end, the grand Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, built in 1870, harkens back to the area's early past while at the other, views of the modern glass business and apartment towers of the Jersey City waterfront look toward the future.

In between, you'll find a row of attractive Greek Revival brownstones, including our subject property at No. 109.

 

Today, we'll take a look at the past, present and future of the house at 109 Sussex Street.

The lower part of Jersey City rose up around three prominent squares: Paulus Hook, Hamilton and Van Vorst. The oldest of these is Paulus Hook which was well-positioned along the New York Harbor, Morris Canal and the port's railhead. Attracted by its advantageous location, an investment group, Associates of the Jersey Company, began development here in 1804, but growth was slow for several decades and there were only 170 houses in the area in 1835. By the 1840s, however, building began to pick up, especially near the southern edge of Washington Square Park, now known as Paulus Hook Park.

The exact year 109 Sussex and its four related row houses were erected is unclear, but the National Register of Historic Places report for Paulus Hook pegs it in the early 1850s. The homes were built in the Greek Revival style that pervaded the area, however, over time, 109 Sussex was reconfigured and changed out of synch with its neighboring buildings and architectural origins. By 1919 the building had been expanded toward the rear of the property, and the 1937 tax photo shows the original entry doors and cornice were removed. Inside, the home had been subdivided to allow for multi-family and boarding use.

Sussex Street

Some of the earliest inhabitants of the home at 109 Sussex were grocers and merchants, including Augustus Marsh who appears to have purchased the home from his in-laws in 1852. Augustus ran his wholesale grocers out of a West Street location in what would've then been waterfront Manhattan, but is now sandwiched between Battery Park City and Tribeca. A later resident, Samuel Taylor, owned the home in the 1880s, and his Golden Eagle Tea Warehouse was located just a few blocks north on Montgomery Street.

private deck

The top level of the home has been reimagined as a spectacular full-floor master suite where NanaWall glass doors peel back to unveil a huge private deck. The enormous walk-in closet will accommodate the largest of wardrobes, and a 70-inch freestanding tub beckons in the serene en suite bathroom.

At the cellar level— accessible by stair or by the large elevator that travels from basement to roof — another luxurious bedroom suite enjoys ample privacy, and a huge rec room space with a fully stocked wet bar opens out to the leafy backyard. Lastly, to crown the home, the Dixon team has orchestrated a gorgeous roof deck with tons of Ipe decking surrounding a relaxing hot tub. It's the perfect spot to relax and unwind while breathtaking views of Jersey City's past and future dance in the background.

 

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