Saturday, December 8, 2018

278 in the 1940s

Our friend Alec Mathieson recently discovered this terrific photo of Houdini's 278. This comes from the NYC Municipal Archives of tax photos and was taken between 1939 and 1941 by the WPA.

There isn't anything new to be gleaned here, but it's cool to see the house in the days when Hardeen and Bess were still alive, and very much how Houdini would have remembered it. At this time, 278 was occupied by the Bonannos, who bought the house from Bess in 1927. (To see a pic of the house in Houdini's time, click here.)

Thank you Alec.



  1. Neato. One thing I, for some reason, didn't notice before is that in the picture of 278 in Houdini's day, the upper floor front is not filled in it's still a balcony. But already by the 1940's, it had been filled in. (It's kind of too bad they had to fill it in - it'd be neat to look out on that balcony, for whoever got a chance to live up there).

    1. I'm almost certain Houdini is the one who enclosed it as there are descriptions in the '20s of his office being in there

  2. I also wondered about that top floor enclosure. It definitely looks like Harry did it to keep an office there. The house looks more open without that metal fence at the entrance.