Podcasts The Jazz Age

The Tale of Tillie Hart, the Holdout of London Terrace

EPISODE 314 — London Terrace, an English-inspired apartment complex, is a jewel of apartment living in the neighborhood of Chelsea. In 1929, a set of unusual townhouses — also named London Terrace — were demolished to construct this spectacular set of buildings.

That is, all townhouses but one — the home of Mrs. Tillie Hart, a tenacious tenant who refused to leave.

In a real-life example of the movie Up, Hart’s tale is a battle between urban development and an individual’s right to their longtime home — a genuine David vs. Goliath tale on the landscape of New York City real estate.

In her favor — the support of the public and the regular attention of the New York Daily News. Will Hart prevail?

PLUS: A history of the Chelsea neighborhood and its ‘godfather’ Clement Clarke Moore.


15 London Terrace, 1916-21, Museum of the City of New York
London Terrace 1919 / New York Public Library

Most newspapers — including the Daily News — erroneously reported that Clement Clarke Moore (reduced to “the poet”) lived in the home. It may have been Mrs. Hart herself who kept the fiction going in an effort to save her home.

New York Daily News, September 27, 1929
New York Daily News, October 9, 1929
An Owensboro, Kentucky, newspaper, Oct 14, 1929 — Most people erroneously reported that Clement Clarke Moore lived in the home.
New York Daily News, October 17, 1929
New York Daily News, October 20, 1929
London Terrace in 1931.
London Terrace 2017 / Acroterion/ Wikimedia Commons

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3 replies on “The Tale of Tillie Hart, the Holdout of London Terrace”

Hi, I’m a fan of the podcast who truly appreciates your going to twice weekly episodes.
Regarding your recent podcast I might be able to offer additional insight as to why a retired soldier would name his estate Chelsea. In the 1680s King Charles II established a retirement benefit for the British army that gave retired soldiers a place to live at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. Those who chose to live there were known as in-pensioners; those who preferred to live elsewhere were out-pensioners. It was considered very advanced for its time. The Chelsea Pensioners still exist.

I’m aware of this because researching my family tree revealed two pensioners.

Thank you for this amazing story and podcast.
I live in a London Terrace, that’s to say, a terrace in London. I’ve never been to your city but your enthusiasm for its past makes it seem like my home town.
Stay well, keep your pecker up and thank you again,

I live in a neighborhood called Sleepy Hollow Manor in a home built in 1929 as part of a development designed and built by Harry Mandel and Farrar & Watmough who also built London Terrace at the same time as the 15 houses that comprise the manor homes. Can’t wait to listen to this podcast and thanks for reading!

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