PICT0020.jpg (63230 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Lower East Side

Stuyvesant Polyclinic Hospital  Landmark


William Schickel


137 Second Ave. 




Rundbogenstil (German round-arched neo-Romanesque)  


brick and terracotta


Anna Ottendorfer (1815-1884), publisher, philanthropist.

The Stuyvesant Polyclinic Hospital and the Ottendorfer Branch Library represent the philanthropy of Anna Ottendorfer, a 19th-century German immigrant and German language newspaper publisher dedicated to providing charitable support to New York's German immigrants. The design of these two adjoining buildings reflects a neo-Italian Renaissance style, while the ornate decorative elements symbolize Ottendorfer's efforts to promote a sense of ethnic pride. The goal of the library and clinic was, in the words of Mrs. Ottendorfer, dedicated to "uplifting both the body and mind of fellow Germans in the United States." Although Anna Ottendorfer died shortly before the opening of either the library or clinic, her devotion to social causes was recognized world-wide, culminating in a 1883 gold medal presentation by the German Empress. The Ottendorfer Library was donated to New York City in early 1884, and with its opening on December 7, 1884, it became the first branch of the New York Free Circulating Library. It is currently the oldest branch of the City Library system still in its original building. The Stuyvesant Clinic dispensed free medical care to German immigrants on the Lower East Side, attempting to compensate for the appalling health conditions immigrants faced. The clinic also provided training to medical students, creating a roster of professionals who provided health services to New York's German immigrants.

The Ottendorfer Public Library and Stuyvesant Polyclinic Hospital are located at 135 and 137 Second Ave. in New York City, NY. The Library is open to visitors during normal library hours. The Stuyvesant Polyclinic is an operating medical facility.

About the architect;

J. William Schickel (1850-1907)

J. William Schickel was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1850. While in Europe he was a student of Wilhelm Bozler. Schickel emigrated to the United States and established an architectural practice in New York City during the early 1870s. In 1885 he formed the firm of William Schickel & Company in association with Isaac E. Ditmars and Hugo Kafka. Evidently the firm enjoyed considerable patronage from German-American clients. The firm accepted a wide variety of commissions, including commercial projects such as the Staats-Zeitung Building in New York City; however, ecclesiastical projects accounted for a substantial portion of the firm's commissions. Churches and institutional buildings were frequently designed for ethnically German parishes and religious orders. In this regard the Roman Catholic Church of St. Boniface in Rochester, New York, designed in 1887 for a German congregation, is a typical example of the firm's work. Several of the more important ecclesiastical designs by William Schickel & Company include the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan and the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston. The later was built in association with Edward Welby Pugin who apparently formulated the original design. After 1895, the firm took the name of Schickel & Ditmars and continued to practice under the direction of Isaac Ditmars after Schickel's death in 1907.

© Kevin F. Decker, 2000.

Special thanks to Kevin F. Decker

Schickel prepared plans for St. Liborius Roman Catholic Church in St. Louis in 1889. Among his other designs are the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston (1877), the Catholic Clubhouse on West 59th Street in New York City (1892), a competition drawing for the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (1900), and the palatial New York townhouse of John D. Crummins, Esq. (1900).