Manhattan Snaps – The Old Jefferson Tower

The old wooden Jefferson Tower. (File photo/Margot Gayle Collection)

The Jefferson Market Library building has a long and storied history, including being built in 1876 as a courthouse and a preservation effort starting in 1960 to save the Venetian Gothic building. Before the current building and tower were built, there was a previous Jefferson Tower, pictured above, that was made of wood, according to the Dec. 30, 1971 issue of The Villager. The wooden tower was used as a fire lookout, and a volunteer fireman would stand at the top and ring a large bell to signal that there was a fire in the Village area.