George McAneny Compendium

Savior of old buildings.

Patron of beauty and sensible design.

George F. McAneny’s accomplishments as a civic leader and private citizen during the first half of the twentieth century improved our city’s city planning, zoning, parks, and historic preservation systems forever.

But his accomplishments hardly stopped at the city limits. By helping to establish the National Trust for Historic Preservation and heading the Regional Plan Association, McAneny ensured his vision would have regional and national ramifications for generations to come.

Nevertheless, his name is relatively unknown to twenty-first century New Yorkers. McAneny was quick to give credit to others and did not seek the limelight or even have time to write his memoirs.

George McAneny, who likely had a more profound influence on the 20th-century built environment of New York City than any single individual except Robert Moses, today is remembered more for his individual achievements in separate fields than for the sum of his career.

Above: George McAneny, 1913; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • 1869
    • Born, Greenville, New Jersey
  • 1885 – 1892
    • Reporter and correspondent, New York newspapers
  • 1891 – 1923
    • Affiliated with Hampton Institute, Virginia
  • 1892 – 1902
    • National Civil Service Reform League and New York Civil Service Reform Association
  • 1894 – 1902
    • Secretary of NY Civil Service Reform League
  • 1899
    • Co-author, revised New York State Civil Service Law
  • January 4, 1900
    • George McAneny and Marjorie Jacobi

    • Married Marguerite Jacobi, daughter of Dr. Abraham and Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi
  • 1901 – 1917
    • Affiliated with Tuskegee Institute
  • 1902
    • Chaired first meeting of Lake George Association which he initiated as President of the Bolton Improvement Association
  • November 16, 1903 – 1906
    • Clerkship with Attorney Edward M. Shepard and work with Pennsylvania Railroad for construction of Penn Station
  • 1906 – 1909
    • President, City Club, New York
  • 1907
    • Incorporator, Bureau of Municipal Research
  • 1907 – 1921
    • Affiliated with the Jeanes Foundation promoting Negro education and Trustee in 1911
  • May 11, 1909
    • Chaired meeting to organize Fusion Campaign
  • 1909-1912
    • Led sidewalk widening campaign to remove structures and architectural projections especially on 5th Avenue
  • January 1, 1910 – December 31,1913
    • President, Borough of Manhattan
  • 1911
    • Vice-President of Armstrong Association, supporting Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes
  • 1911 – 1913
    • Chairman of new Transit Commission of Board of Estimate which led to…
  • April 2, 1913
    • Dual Contracts signed joining IRT and BMT with city for subways
  • September 24, 1912
    • Dedicated Isham Park
  • 1912 – 1915
    • Secured funding for restoration NY City Hall built in 1811
  • 1912
    • City Hall Park
    • Credited with preserving City Hall Park and a “potent factor in crystallizing the idea for a Civic Center” with development of a new NY State Courthouse and Foley Square and inadvertently saving Tweed Courthouse
  • 1913
    • Chair, Height of Buildings Commission for Board of Estimate which led to…
  • 1916
    • New York City Zoning Resolution passed, written by George McAneny and Edward M. Bassett
  • May 27, 1913
    • Awarded the Société des Architects Diplômés pour La Government for Service to City Planning and Architecture and later received the Chevalier Legion of Honor from France
  • January, 1914
    • February, 1916 – President, NYC Board of Aldermen and for several months served as acting Mayor for John Purroy Mitchel
  • April 17, 1914
    • First of six lectures at Yale University—Dodge Lectures on the Responsibilities of Citizenship
  • June 18, 1914
    • Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Law (LL.D), Hobart College,
  • 1915ish to at least 1925
    • First Chairman of the Board of Directors and then first Chair of the Board of Trustees, Riverdale Country Day School, Bronx, NY
  • October 18, 1915
    • As President of the Board of Aldermen, joins the “come outers” for equal suffrage with statement, “I’m convinced that the addition to the voting mass of those women who will go to the polls will improve the quality of democracy itself.”
  • December 30, 1915
    • 650 people attend dinner in his honor when leaving public office to go to the NY Times (one of many held)
  • 1916 – 1921
    • Executive Manager, New York Times
  • 1916
    • Chair, Board of Trustees, The City University of New York
  • 1918
    • St. John’s Chapel demolished after his unsuccessful attempt to save it during subway construction and widening of Varick St.
  • 1920 – 1921
    • Vice-President of the American Newspaper Publishers Association
  • 1921 – 1925
    • Chairman, New York State Transit Commission
  • 1921 – 1926
    • Member, Russell Sage Foundation Committee for development of New York City
  • March 24, 1924
    • Joseph P. Day lecturer at Union College “The Development of the Modern City”
  • 1927 – 1936
    • President of the Civil Service Reform Association
  • May 27, 1929
    • Presents first Regional Plan for New York City and its Environs
  • 1930 – 1948plus
    • President, Regional Plan Association then Chairman of the Board
  • 1933
    • City Commissioner for Sanitation
  • 1933
    • Comptroller for New York City “saved the city from bankruptcy”
  • 1934 – 1936
    • President, Title Guarantee and Trust Company, Chairman of the Board 1936-1953
  • 1935
    • Trustee of the Bowery Savings Bank
  • 1935 – 1936
    • Chairman, 1939 World’s Fair Corporation
  • April 12, 1939
    • Awarded First medal by NY Chapter of AIA and others given to citizen of New York who has contributed the most to the plan of the City and to the betterment of its future life
  • May 26, 1939
    •  
    • Announces Protection of Federal Hall as National Historic Site under the Purview of The National Park Service on the opening of the 1939 World’s Fair and 150th anniversary of George Washington taking the oath of President of the United States
  • 1939 – 1951
    • Chairman, Board of Governors, Federal Hall Memorial Associates
  • October, 1942 – 1950
    • President, American Scenic Historic Preservation Society
  • 1945
    • George McAneny Medal for Outstanding Leadership in Historic Preservation established by the American Scenic Historic Preservation Society
  • 1946 – 1950
    • President, Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation; Honorary President 1950 – 1953
  • April, 1947
    • Chairman of the Board of National Council on Historic Sites and Buildings which became The National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • December 6, 1948
    • Received St. Nicholas Society Award for distinguished service
  • February 28, 1949
    • Testimonial dinner in recognition of his efforts to restore NY City Hall, speaker, Oscar Chapman, Department of Interior
  • April 29, 1949
    • Chauncey M Depew Medal
    • Received first Chauncey M. Depew medal for distinguished public service at Federal Hall by The Empire State Minute Man, Sons of the American Revolution
  • July 18, 1950
    • Oscar Chapman, Secretary of the Interior announces Castle Clinton as a National Historic Site after almost a ten year battle, with McAneny a key leader through entire effort
  • 1950’s
    • Helped secure protection of Princeton, NJ Revolutionary Battle Fields
  • 1950’s
    • Rhinelander House
    • Supported saving Rhinelander House and Washington Square Park townhouses
  • 1951
    • Presented with the Municipal Art Society’s Presidents’ Medal
  • January, 1953
    • Awarded medal from the United States Department of Interior
  • July 29, 1953
    • Died in Princeton, NJ
  • December 10, 1953
    • Memorial meeting at Federal Hall
  • May 16, 1956
    • Unveiling of marble plaque of George McAneny sculpted by Carl Manship at Federal Hall facilitated by the American Scenic Historic Preservation Society

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Above: Joseph Svehlak | Photo Courtesy of the Friends of the Lower West Side

George McAneny Collection

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05.08.17
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Latest News
10.20.16
Manuscript on George McAneny Now Available

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Past Event
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