The National Arts Club
In 1906, when the Club outgrew its first home on 34th Street, Spencer Trask, a financier, philanthropist and NAC Governor, helped the Club acquire the historic Samuel Tilden Mansion as its new home. The Tilden Mansion occupies 14 and 15 Gramercy Park South; both houses were built in the 1840s; and the original flat-front, iron-grilled brownstones matched the style of the homes still maintained on the west side of Gramercy Park. Samuel Tilden, the 25th Governor of New York, acquired 15 Gramercy Park South in 1863, purchased the adjacent house a few years later and gave the conjoined mansions a complete redesign. Tilden hired Calvert Vaux, a famed architect and one of the designers of Central Park, to modernize the façade with sandstone, bay windows and ornamentation in the Aesthetic Movement style. John LaFarge created stained glass panels for the interior of the mansion; and sculptors from the firm of Ellin and Kitson created elaborate fireplace surrounds, bookcases and doors. Glass master Donald MacDonald fashioned a unique stained glass dome for Tilden’s library that crowns the room where the bar is now located.
In 1966 New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declared 15 Gramercy Park South a New York City Landmark; and in 1976 the Federal government designated the building a National Historic Landmark.