Partners in Housing Reform: The Apartment Developments of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Charles O. Heydt, and Andrew J. Thomas

Jan 01, 2008 | by
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John D. Rockefeller, Jr. is known for many accomplishments -- for developing Rockefeller Center, for example; for restoring Colonial Williamsburg, and for his support of conservation and the national parks across America. He is not well known as a housing reformer. Yet in the 1920s, Rockefeller and his real estate advisor, Charles O. Heydt, formed an unusual partnership with the architect Andrew J. Thomas, built around Thomas's pioneering ideas about the "garden apartment." Heydt brought together Rockefeller money and Thomas's ideas about tenement reform to build experimental model housing projects in Bayonne, New Jersey, in the Bronx, in Harlem, and in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow), the small town near the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County.