NP/10 is a new exhibition space for The West Harlem Art Fund on Governors Island. It includes four gallery rooms, a photo studio, sound room with a garden and outdoor porch.

Set in an old military house that was completed in 1878, visitors can enjoy both the folk architecture and bucolic scenery that still marks Nolan Park on Governors Island to this day.


BUILDING NO. 10 Facing Nolan Park, northwest of Barry Road

Original name/use: Company Officers’ Quarters: Double Unit Subsequent names/uses: Officers’ Quarters: Family housing

Date: 1878 – construction 1936-38 – floor plan altered and second story sun porch added over rear kitchen; middle front

Style: Victorian vernacular Material: Wood clapboard siding on wood frame

Stories: 2

Building 10 is a two-family, two-story house, of wood frame construction set on a brick foundation (painted). T-shaped in plan, it has clapboard-covered walls and a gabled roof covered with asphalt shingles and penetrated by gabled projections rising above the second story windows — two single windows and a double window on the front and two double windows on the rear — and double end chimneys. The rear projection has a hipped roof. A full-width porch with a shallow hipped roof supported by square posts and with plain balustrades extends across the west facade. The paired porch steps are of concrete. The window openings with wood surrounds have six-over-six double-hung wood sash set behind storm sash. The paired paneled wood entrance doors are set below transoms and behind storm doors. The rear projection of the house has enclosed sun porch additions. The house is surrounded by lawn with trees and plantings and approached by brick walkways leading from Nolan Park.

Building 10, built as one of a pair with Building 8, was constructed in 1878 as company officers’ housing during the year that Fort Columbus became the Headquarters of the Military Division of the Atlantic and the Department of the East, a change in status which gave rise to an increased demand for officers’ housing.

Facing the green (Nolan Park), it followed the form of Buildings 4 and 5, and it was joined by eight other units (Buildings 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18) built that same year. While some additions have been made to the house and the middle front dormer has been enlarged, it retains its nineteenth-century character, especially with the restoration of the clapboard siding and open front porch in recent years (post 1986).

Folk And Vernacular Victorian

Folk Victorian refers to a style of American home that is relatively plain in its construction but embellished with decorative trim. Folk Victorians were built from “plan books,” provided by architectural companies and in circulation from the mid 1800s into the early 1900s. The books contained from a half dozen plans up to a hundred or more, with layouts drawn to scale and usually showing front and side elevations, but without the details of modern blueprints.

These home were usually square or L-shaped, and often sported gables and porches. However, they did not have turrets, bay windows, or other complicated construction. What gave these plain homes their Folk Victorian nomenclature was the prefabricated trim, which was machine produced and could (and was) shipped by rail just about anywhere. These machine-made embellishments appeared as brackets under the eves of gabled roofs and as spindle or flat porch railings and trim. As the railroad expanded, it brought Folk Victorian to American small towns.