Audubon Terrace Historic District
The Audubon Terrace Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
Audubon Terrace is a group of eight institutional buildings grouped around a central courtyard. Located in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan, the complex was designed by Charles P. Huntington in the neo-Italian Renaissance style. Two buildings at the western end of the terrace, The American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, were designed after Huntington's death by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm McKim, Mead & White, and by Cass Gilbert. The buildings and the landscaped terrace were completed between 1907 and 1930.
Audubon terrace was conceived as a center for specialized research. Its founder, Archer M. Huntingdon (1870-1955), was a multi-millionaire, a philanthropist, and scholar with a particular interest in Hispanic culture. He founded the Hispanic Society of America in 1904 and commissioned his cousin, Charles Pratt Huntington, to design a home for it. With Archer Huntington's persuasion and funding, buildings for the American Numismatic Society, the American Geographical Society, the Museum of the American Indian, and the Church of Our Lady of Esperanza were also built at Audubon Terrace, and later, the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters.
The Audubon Terrace Historic District is one of the foremost cultural centers in New York City and among the first of its kind in the country. It was founded by a philanthropist, Archer M. Huntington as a center for specialized research following the creation of the Hispanic Society of America in 1904. The centralization of educational and cultural institutions at Audubon Terrace outside of a university context was unique in America, and collections of national significance are housed in its buildings. Most of the complex was designed by Charles P. Huntington in the neo-Renaissance style according to the principles of Beaux-Arts planning. Audubon Terrace is further enhanced by the work of sculptors Anna Hyatt Huntington, Berthold Nebel, Herbet Adams, and Adolph Weinman. Because of the unity of its design and the prestige of its institutions, Audubon Terrace remains a vital architectural and cultural asset to New York City.
The history of the institutions that comprise the Audubon Terrace Historic District is described in detail in the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Designation Report.