The Irvington Historical Society
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131 Main Street, PO BOX 23, Irvington, NY 10533     Phone: (914) 591-1020

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LORD and BURNHAM BUILDING
National Register of Historic Places, 1999



     Frederick A. Lord established Lord's Horticultural Manufacturing Company in 1856 in Syracuse, in central New York. Lord's son-in-law William Burnham later joined the firm, which was renamed in 1890 when Burnham became President. The company moved to Irvington in 1876, ostensibly to be closer to the great estates that served as a market for the company's products, its celebrated glass conservatories. Perhaps the most famous estate was that of Jay Gould, just over the village line in Tarrytown. For Lyndhurst, the Gould estate, the firm constructed what has been said to be the country's first steel and iron frame, fire resistant greenhouse. (The previous, wood frame, conservatory at Lyndhurst burned in 1880.) Other commissions included Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco (1876-1879) and the Enid Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden (1902). 

     The construction of the Lord and Burnham factory in 1881 was brought about by a fire in the original structure the previous year. The newer building is comprised of the four-story Queen Anne-style office, consisting of a tower capped with a pyramidal roof and a stepped-gable pavilion, and the three story factory wing to the south, which is much more utilitarian in design. When the new office and factory was built, the railroad tracks across the street were located right on the Hudson River. Beginning in 1894, the company purchased underwater property beyond the tracks and began filling in to create new land for an expansion. The expansion complex was completed by 1912, at which time Lord and Burnham employed 250 men.

     By 1988, only about a dozen employees remained at the Irvington factory, and Lord and Burnham ceased to exist when the factory closed in that year. The Lord and Burnham firm became a division of the Burnham Corporation, boiler manufacturers, and operations are now headquartered in Lancaster, PA. Within a decade, plans came to fruition for the adaptive reuse of the Lord and Burnham office and factory to house the new Irvington Public Library, with residential apartments above. Stephen Tilly, Architect, oversaw the 2.4 million dollar conversion of the first floor to the library, which opened on January 28, 2000. Across the tracks, the ca. 1912 expansion factory complex has also undergone conversion to modern office and commercial space. Bridge Street Properties oversees the later factory site, which is not part of the National Register.