Theodore Roosevelt's grandfather, Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt (CVS) grew very wealthy from his successful plate glass importing business, Roosevelt and Son, located on Maiden Lane. In the 1830s, he moved his family uptown to Union Square and built a mansion at Broadway on a property which extended from 13th to 14th Street. This followed the trend of other prominent New Yorkers, who pushed northward and established themselves in fashionable residential areas at what was then the outskirts of the growing city.
CVS was so wealthy that he purchased houses as wedding presents for each of his five sons when they married. He gifted two neighboring brownstone townhouses on East 20th Street as wedding presents to his two youngest sons. In 1854, Theodore, Sr.and his wife "Mittie" moved into No. 28, where the future president Theodore Roosevelt was born. Right next door at No. 26 lived Theodore's uncle Robert Barnwell with his wife "Lizzie" Ellis.