Union League Club, 1032 Chapel Street, 1902. Richard Williams.

“Another dignified, well-made building standing empty. Its design distinguished by a clean-cut layering of brick planes, this is the sort of undemonstrative but cultivated architecture that gives urbanity to city streets. When it was new it enhanced the whole block; it might still do so if it were cleaned up. Originally there was a grass court, now an alley, on the east, hence the side wall was finished as well as the front.

Up the alley: the shell of the Opera House of 1880 (advertised as one of the biggest theaters in America), later the well-known Hyperion, tryout stop for Broadway shows at the turn of the century, now part of Loew’s Poli movie theater. Squeezed between opera house and club: the remains of the Gaius Warner house, 1860, Henry Austin – originally with a double bow front. Up ahead: one of Yale’s best street sequences – the procession of the art buildings.”
-Excerpt and (above) image courtesy of, “New Haven, a Guide to Architecture and Urban Design,” by Elizabeth Mills Brown, 1976

The Derby Turnpike: West Chapel Street and Derby Avenue.

“Although the western run of Chapel Street existed from the start of the Colony, it stopped at the West River, serving only as an access to fields. As a public way it fell into disuse – indeed the 18th-century maps show a house standing in the middle of it. It was not until the Derby Turnpike was chartered in 1798 and a bridge built across the river that West Chapel Street sprang to life, becoming one of the town’s main streets – the only one, in fact, that goes straight from east to west. In the Federal period, as the retail center moved up to the Green, shops began pushing westward along Chapel, blending into the life of Yale up at the corner of College Street. Farther out, a lineup of Victorian mansions was built beyond Howe, becoming at the end of the century the core of a showy, new middle-class neighborhood around Sherman Avenue. Meantime, at the close of the Civil War, Yale built its semi-public art building on the corner of High and for the first time turned its face toward Chapel Street. This stretch became the Gold Coast, a street where affluent students lived in private dormitories and where town and gown mingled for social and intellectual events and for sometimes violent clashes between students and town youths. Prestigious churches, men’s clubs, the best hotels, restaurants, ballrooms, and theaters grew up along the street, and from the turn of the century New Haven’s main concentration of apartment houses settled here. At its height, the social-commercial wave flowed about as far as Howe Street, then, stopped by the Depression and other ills, it turned and started flowing back. Today [1976] the still-withdrawing tide is marked by empty shops and messy little enterprises in once soignee quarters.”
-Excerpt and (top) image courtesy of, “New Haven, a Guide to Architecture and Urban Design,” by Elizabeth Mills Brown, 1976

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