NYC Underground Railroad Site in Court Battle

The site was the home of abolitionists and was targeted and burned during the draft riots 150 years ago, but the structure survived.

Posted: 08/08/2013 04:20 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Preservationists say a New York City home that was once part of the Underground Railroad has been illegally renovated.

The home is part of the Lamartine Historic District on 29th Street. It once belonged to abolitionists Abby and James Sloan Gibbons. Their home was targeted and burned during the draft riots 150 years ago, but the structure survived.

The new owner has built a new top level on the house. But a judge this week ruled he will not be able to rent out apartments until he gets approval for the addition from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The owner says he will appeal the decision.

Two of the Gibbons' daughters escaped the burning home over the rooftops to a waiting carriage.

Calls to the developer's lawyer were not returned.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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