Gracie Mansion is an architectural treasure of our city dating from 1799, built by a prosperous merchant named Archibald. Gracie Mansion was a country house overlooking a sleepy, scenic bend on the East River, five miles north of what was then New York City. Now, his home is a member of the Historic House Trust, is one of the oldest surviving wooden structures in Manhattan and the official residence of New York City mayors since 1942. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced City authorities to designate the Gracie Mansion as the official residence of the Mayor in 1942 when Fiorello H. La Guardia and his family moved into the house.
In 1966, Gracie Mansion was expanded with the addition of the Susan E. Wagner Wing, dedicated to official events and public gatherings. Mayor Edward I. Koch later established the Gracie Mansion Conservancy with Joan K. Davidson in 1981 as a public/private partnership in order to perform a major restoration of the house. In 2002, the interior and exterior structures of the “People’s House” were once again restored, increasing accessibility to the public and City agencies. Today, Gracie Mansion reclaims its place as what Mayor La Guardia described as New York’s “little White House.”
The Conservancy continues to operate as a charitable organization dedicated to enhancing and enlivening its namesake. Its goal is to preserve and honor Gracie Mansion’s historical elements originating from the Federal Period, while also making sure it remains inclusive and reflective of the city it serves. The majority of this work focuses on exploring the many different people and cultures whose contributions to Gracie Mansion and New York at large have gone unrecognized for far too long.
The Mission Statement
The mission of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy is to raise funds to restore the landmark structure and acquire furnishings that illustrate the rich history of New York City; improve the surrounding landscape and gardens; and provide educational services, including publications and tours. The Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit corporation established in 1981.