Remembering Judson House

There could be no more fitting eulogy for a building than Remembering Judson House, a collection of testimonies from living witnesses as to what this place meant to them.  When I was asked to write this foreword, the first thing I thought of was the song "This Old House," written by Stuart Hamblen.  Its poignant lyrics are about the humanization of a physical structure, making it analogous to the infirmities and morality of an aging human being.  The refrain of the song goes:

Ain't gonna need this house no longer
Ain't gonna need this house no more
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
Ain't fot time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges
Or to mend the window panes
Ain't gonna need this house no longer
He's getting ready to meet the saints.

It is true that buildings are always more than bricks and steel.  They are living entities that harbor history and memories, and they are susceptible to deterioration and death just as we are.

Judson House has been a home to myriad ministries that would not have been possible without its structure:  a health clinic where Italian-American women learned how to keep their babies healthy, an international dormitory where young students from Africa prepared to return to serve their decolonized countries after World War II, a gallery for avant-garde artists and a residence for would-be artists, a runaway house for wandering and displaced kids searching for their identity.  Judson House was a living space, metamorphosing to every generation to serve a new need that appeared on it its doorstep.

Its attached garden was a shady refuge.  Its towering trees looked down on noisy parties full of wine and song, antiwar protests and human rights rallies, the quietness of worship services, and acts of parting when the cremated remains of church members were mixed with the soil of the flower beds.

There were times when Judson House was neglected and sometimes abused, but "this old house," with cracking walls and paint peeling shabbiness, was always ready to shelter the lives of you and old and the work and ministry of its mother, Judson Memorial Church.  In its checkered history, Judson House has been called many names, but is has primarily been a home, a landmark place for the lives of transients, wayfaring strangers, lost souls and pilgrims who stopped and stayed.  In the following pages we will read ringing tributes and heartfelt confessions of what Judson House Meant to some of its devotees.

Oh Judson House, love of our lives, this book is your warm and affectionate epitaph. 

from the Forward of Remembering Judson House by by Howard Moody, Senior Pastor Emeritus, Judson Memorial Church

This material is presented by the kind and gracious permission of the copyright holders and is used with their permission.  A PDF version of each section is available by clicking the links below.  (NOTE:  Due to copyright and permissions issues, all photographs have been omitted.)


Title Section and Table of Contents
Howard Moody
Peter Laarman
Elly and Jerry Dickason
The Building - This sections consists of four chapters: an overview, by Irene Tichenor, of the history of the lot up to the time that Edward Judson bought the set of buildings on Thompson Street in 1899; a review of the building as property, by Grace Goodman; the personal reminiscences of John Tungate, who was Judson's Sexton and Maintenance man from 1968 to 1978 and who, by his own admission, had a very physical relationship with Judson House; and memories of the Judson Garden, by Alice Garrard. 1
  The History of the Judson House Plot up to 1899 Irene Tichenor 3
  The Property from 1899 to 1999 Grace Goodman 7
  A Custodian's Description John Tungate 25
  The Garden Alice Garrard 51

The Judson Health Center - The Judson Health Center began its life in January 1921 in the Basement of Judson Memorial Church.  In July 1922 it moved next door into Judson House, where it occupied most of the building until the summer of 1950.  The Center continues to operate its clinics on Spring Street in New York City, still providing services to New arrived immigrants.
This section consists of three chapters: a history of the Judson Health Center, by Jerry G. Dickason; a profile of its founder and long-time director, Dr. Eleanor A. Campbell, by Elly Dickason; and the text of a 1936 radio address by Dr. Campbell.
  The Judson Health Center, 1921 - 1950 Jerry G. Dickason 59
  Eleanor A. Campbell Elly Dickason 93
  :Problem Parents" Dr. Eleanor Campbell 100

The Judson Staff - The earliest staff member represented in this book is Robert Boyd, who moved into Judson House in 1947 to manage the students that lived there.  Judson House offered an attractive alternative to NYU housing, without any rules about curfew and such.
In the chapters that follow, a variety of staff, paid and unpaid -- ministers (senior, associate, assistant, interim), some of the spouses and one child, church secretaries, sextons, and program directors -- provide a patchwork of more than fifty years of Judson House history.
Two former staff members who contributed chapters are not included here.  Bernard (Bud) Scott, assistant minister from 1957 to 1960, was so totally involved in the arts that we have placed his chapter in the section on "The Judson Gallery"; and John Tungate's brick-by-brick and squeak-by-squeak description of Judson House, we felt, belonged more properly in the section called "The Building."
  Robert Boyd Robert Boyd 111
  Dean Wright Dean Wright 114
  Alice Spike Alice Spike 119
  Paul Spike Paul Spike 122
  Norman O. Keim Norman O. Keim 127
  Bernard D. Mayes Bernard D. Mayes 130
  Beverly Waite Beverly Waite 137
  Joseph and Judy Pickle Joseph and Judy Pickle 139
  Al Carmines Al Carmines 147
  Ed Brewer Ed Brewer 156
  Larry Kornfeld Larry Kornfeld 162
  Ro Lee Ro Lee 166
  Arthur A. Levin Arthur A. Levin 168
  Joan Muyskens Joan Muysken 172
  Arlene Carmen Abigail Hastings 177
  Roland Wiggins Roland Wiggins 181
  Lorry Moody Lorry Moody 185
  Lee Hancock Lee Hancock 187
  Mark Rubinsky Mark Rubinsky 191
  Bill Malcomson Bill Malcomson 195
  Paul Chapman Paul Chapman 197
  Andrew Frantz Andrew Frantz 200

The Church In Urban Life Project - From 1950 to 1965 Judson Memorial Church ran an annual summer program for Baptist college students outside New York City.  Students applied from all over the country, and a group of between fifteen and twenty was selected to spend the summer in New York City.
The program was run by various directors who were not on the regular Judson staff, although the senior minister was involved in setting up the study program.  Each program had a different theme, but all related to the church in an urban setting.  The students lived at Judson House.  Upon arrival in mid-June, the first task was to find a job for the ten weeks each would be in New York.  The evenings were filled with reading and discussions and lectures by well-known people.  On weekends, the students took advantage of New York's beaches, attended plays, and hung out in coffeehouses and jazz bars.
The Judson archives contain reports for the institutes of 1955, 1956, and 1061.  From these reports and from the testimonials that follow, it is clear that the Urban Institute left a lasting mark on the participants.
  Bernice Lemley Bernice Lemley 207
  Juell Krauter Juell Krauter 212
  Robert A Yangas Robert A. Yangas 214
  Donald Birt Donald Birt 216
  Beverly Bach Cassell Beverly Bach Cassell 219
  Donald R Ferrell Donald R. Ferrell 222
  Marcia Freer Marcia Freer 224
  Larry J Keeter Larry J. Keeter 225
  Jim Thacker Jim Thacker 232
  Reathal Bean Reathal Bean 236
  Michael Johnson Michael Johnson 240

The Judson Student House - From sometime around 1930 to the mid-1960s, at least part of Judson House served as a dormitory for full-time students attending various colleges and universities in New York City.  Initially, the rooms were restricted to the third floor, as the rest of the building was occupied by the Judson Health Center.  As long as the clinic was there, until 1950, students entered the building at 81 West Third Street, also owned by Judson Church, and entered the third floor of Judson House from the third floor of 81 West Third.
In 1950 two things happened:  the house at 81 West Third Street showed signs of imminent collapse and had to be razed, and the Judson Health Center moved to Sprint Street.  Judson Church now had the run of Judson House.  This was also a time when the church had begun to reach out to the students at New York University and initiated a program whereby students from NYU could live at Judson House at reasonable rates with the understanding that they would devote about four hours a week to community work.
For various reasons the Student House program dissolved in the 1960s.  The last students left in 1967.  By that time, Judson House was used for other programs:  There now was an art gallery and some of the artists lived at Judson House, as did several staff members.  For eighteen months, from the spring of 1968 until the fall of 1969, Judson House was home to a resident runaway program.  The teenagers trashed the building so thoroughly that most of Judson House could not be used as a residence again.
  Seymour Hacker Seymour Hacker 247
  Patricia White Patricia White 250
  McKinley Brown McKinley Brown 252
  Robert Newman Robert Newman 253
  Tom Roderick Tom Roderick 258
  Christopher Holt Christopher Holt 262
  Sandy Padilla Sandy Padilla 264
  Lurline Purvis Lurline Purvis 272

The Judson Gallery - In the late 1950s and early 1960s Judson House was the incubator for radically new art forms.  At the Judson Gallery, housed in a small basement room, artists such a Claes Oldenbeurg, Jim Dine, Marc Ratliff, Allan Kaprow, and Tom Wesselmann held early shows of their works.  For many, it was their first show ever.  The artists had complete freedom to exhibit what they waned to exhibit.  No gallery director acted as judge.
Judson's great contribution to the arts was the absolute freedom it granted to the artists.  The art, and especially the happenings, took many bizarre forms, but short of using fire and water --- which might damage the buildings -- the artist were free to express themselves in whatever medium and whatever subject they saw fit. 
Click the link at the beginning of this section for a fuller description.
  Bud Scott Bud Scott 277
  Allan Kaprow Allan Kaprow 286
  Phyllis Yampolsky Phyllis Yampolsky 288
  Marc Ratcliff Marc Ratcliff 290
  Claes Oldenberg Claes Oldenberg 292
  Tom Wesselmann Tom Wesselman 303
  Jon Hendricks Jon Hendricks 307
  Geoffrey Hendricks Geoffrey Hendricks 314
  Kate Millett Kate Millett 319
  Nye Ffarrabas Nye Ffarrabas 321
  Raphael Ortiz Raphael Ortiz 335
  Over His Dead Body Jill Johnston 339
  Jean Ovitt Jean Ovitt 343

The Runaway House - From Jun
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