Friday, March 27, 2015

Take me out to the Ball Park the story of Capitoline Grounds!

Today at 1499 Fulton Street you will find a great coffee shop name Capitoline Grounds. This is a name that goes back over 150 plus years in Bedford Stuyvesant.
 
The Capitoline Grounds, also known as Capitoline Skating Lake and Base Ball Ground, was a baseball park located in Brooklyn, New York from 1864 to 1880. It was built to rival nearby Union Grounds, also in Brooklyn. The park hosted local amateur teams in its early history, but later hosted professional and semi-professional games. The park's only season as the home field for an all-professional team occurred in 1872 when the Brooklyn Atlantics joined the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. The park was flooded during the winter and used as an ice skating park. The grounds were used by local high schools and colleges as well, to play American football games, and ice rink football matches.


Many of organized baseball's earliest historical events took place at the park throughout the 1860s and early 1870s. The most notable event came on June 14, 1870, when the Atlantics defeated the Cincinnati Red Stockings to end their historic 84-game winning streak. Fred Goldsmith successfully demonstrated his curve ball at the Grounds in 1870, a pitch previously thought to have been only an optical illusion. In an 1865 game, Ned Cuthbert is credited with inventing the slide when he tried avoiding a tag when attempting to steal a base against the Athletic of Philadelphia. In addition to baseball, The Grounds hosted various events and exhibitions; most notably in 1873, when Washington Donaldson and two reporters attempted to fly a hot-air balloon across the Atlantic Ocean. The attempt turned tragic when the balloon crashed in Connecticut killing one of the reporters.


Reuben S. Decker inherited a portion of his grandfather's farm land and along with Hamilton A. Weed initially opened the Capitoline Skating pond, named in reverence to Capitoline Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome.  The location of the grounds were in the Bedford Section of Brooklyn, New York, an area now known as the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The Grounds encompassed a city block bounded by Halsey Street, Marcy Street, Putnam Avenue, and Nostrand Avenue. The pond area was first conceived as an ice skate park, which began in the Winter of 1862-1863. Designed to be a competitor to the nearby Union Grounds, where the first enclosed baseball field opened earlier in 1862. With the success that the Union Grounds experienced by charging admission, Decker and Weed chose to enclose the Capitoline Grounds as well.

The Capitoline Grounds opened for baseball in 1864, now consisting of two sets of bleachers that were backed by Nostrand Avenue and Halsey Street, and had an approximate capacity of 5,000 people] In right field stood a circular brick outhouse, and if any player hit a ball over the structure, they were presented with a bottle of Champagne. Along Putnam Avenue, two rows of stables were established for the patrons' horses. Other amenities included a bandstand, clubhouses, and sitting rooms for the female patrons. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle regarded the new park as "the finest, most extensive, and complete ball grounds in the country." The business ran year around; flooding the area during the Winter season for skating, then draining the park in the spring for baseball matches.  Hamilton A Weed a builder would go on to build many houses that are stating in the Bedford Section today. All of H. A. Weed buildings are not protected.



In September 1873, Washington Donaldson, a professional balloonist who had formerly worked for P.T. Barnum as a circus performer, along with fellow balloonist John Wise, collaborated on an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a hot-air balloon. Sponsored by the Daily Graphic, the launch was to take place from the Capitoline Grounds, with Wise planning to use a balloon 49 meters (160 feet) tall with a two-compartment enclosed car, but decided to end his involvement with the project. Donaldson persisted, acquiring a smaller balloon with an open boat for the car.

Donaldson's Atlantic attempt, launched from the Capitoline Grounds accompanied by reporters Alfred Ford and George Lunt, ended up being forced down by a rainstorm, to land on a Connecticut farm. Donaldson and Ford successfully abandoned the runaway balloon, but Lunt stayed with the balloon for a distance until he finally jumped into a tree, sustaining serious injuries from which he died six months later. Donaldson later disappeared in 1875 when he tried to fly across Lake Michigan in a balloon, accompanied by a reporter named Newton Grimwood. The balloon never made it to the far shore; Grimwood's body washed up on shore weeks later, but Donaldson was never seen again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Walking Tour with Morgan Munsey

 Jefferson Ave Homes Designed by architect G. A. Schellenger in 1884

Writer Anne Hellman of http://design-brooklyn.tumblr.com/ and photographer Michel Arnaud tour us around Brooklyn's recent townhouse renovations, restaurant and bar build-outs, garden designs, and public structures, as well as visits to studios of designers making high-end furniture, lighting, and textiles.
I was honored to give the lovely Anne Hellman White, the wonderful Jane Creech and the super talented Michel Arnaud a tour of Bedford Stuyvesant for an up coming book.  Here is a sneak preview of whats to come
If you would like to join me and awesome Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) on a tour this summer please go to  MAS NY.  We are leading a tour this weekend of the proposed Bedford Historic District and Stuyvesant Heights.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

748 Hancock Street home to the first African American female principal in the NYC public schools


"Sarah Smith Tompkins Garnet was the first African American female principal in the New York public schools.  The eldest of eleven children, she was born Minsarah Smith in Brooklyn on July 31, 1831 to Sylvanus and Annie (Springstead) Smith. Her parents, both of mixed African-American and Native American stock, were landholders and successful farmers. Since there were no schools available for African-American children in the immediate vicinity, Sarah received her early education from her paternal grandmother, Sylvia Hobbs, who maintained a school in the attic of her home on Hempstead Plains. At the age of fourteen Sarah began teaching in an African free school, a caste school established by the Manumission Society in Williamsburgh (later part of Brooklyn), N.Y. At the same time she studied at various normal schools in and around New York City. Her first teaching assignment in the public school system was the principalship of a grammar school in New York City which was subsequently designated as P.S. (Public School) 80. She served continuously as principal of this school from the date of her appointment, April 30, 1863, to the date of her retirement, Sept. 10, 1900. The last years of her life she devoted to the seamstress shop which she had begun in 1883, along with her teaching, on Hancock Street in Brooklyn.

Mrs. Garnet had the distinction of being the first African-American woman to attain the rank of principal in the New York City public school system, and she was considered a most efficient administrator. The public presentations and closing exercises of her school--among them the "Literary Salads" made up of quotations from standard authors--always drew large crowds. Some measure of the quality of her work may be found in her students, who included Harry H. Williamson, podiatrist and author; Walter F. Craig, violinist; and Florence T. Ray, Fannie Murray, and S. Elizabeth Frazier, who became successful teachers and leaders in the public schools. On a lesser scale, she touched the lives of many through the night school program which she initiated, emphasizing, in addition to literary education, sewing, homemaking, and vocational training. Mrs. Garnet was both resourceful and persistent. Though frail of body, she had an "unconscious grace and dignity," a serenity and tact, that won the regard of both her pupils and her supervisors.

Combined with a successful career in teaching and administration were marriage and family life. At an early age she was wed to the Rev. James Thompson, an Episcopal Minister who became the rector of the St. Matthew Free Church of Brooklyn. Mrs. Thompson became an active member of his church and remained an Episcopalian throughout her life. Thompson died in the late 1860's, leaving her with two children, both of whom died young. About 1879, she became the second wife of the Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, a noted educator, Presbyterian clergyman, and abolitionist. His death in 1882 left her again a widow.

Inspired, perhaps, by Garnet's active role in public affairs, and aided by her prominence as the widow of so renowned a leader, Mrs. Garnet in her later years took part in several organizations devoted to the uplift of the African-American people. She was the founder and leading spirit of the Equal Suffrage Club, a small organization of black women in Brooklyn which met in her shop or in her home to advance the cause of political rights for women; although of limited influence, the group remained in existence from the late 1880's until her death. She early joined the National Association of Colored Women, serving in modest capacities for several years. She was active in efforts to remove discrimination against African-American teachers in New York and on one occasion, it is said, joined Bishop W. B. Derrick in testifying before the state legislature at Albany. In 1911 she went to London, England, as a delegate to the first Universal Races Congress. On her return, although then eighty years of age, she actively distributed to her club suffrage literature she had acquired in England. She died that fall at her Brooklyn home of arteriosclerosis and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. A younger sister of Mrs. Garnet, Susan Maria (Smith) McKinney Steward (1845-1918), graduated from the New York Medical School for Women and Children and pursued a successful career as a physician in Brooklyn and later at Wilberforce University in Ohio."

Source: http://www.awomanaweek.com/garnet.htm
"Sarah Smith Tompkins Garnet was the first African American female principal in the New York public schools. The eldest of eleven children, she was born Minsarah Smith in Brooklyn on July 31, 1831 to Sylvanus and Annie (Springstead) Smith. Her parents, both of mixed African-American and Native American stock, were landholders and successful farmers. Since there were no schools available for African-American children in the immediate vicinity, Sarah received her early education from her paternal grandmother, Sylvia Hobbs, who maintained a school in the attic of her home on Hempstead Plains. At the age of fourteen Sarah began teaching in an African free school, a caste school established by the Manumission Society in Williamsburgh (later part of Brooklyn), N.Y. At the same time she studied at various normal schools in and around New York City. Her first teaching assignment in the public school system was the principalship of a grammar school in New York City which was subsequently designated as P.S. (Public School) 80. She served continuously as principal of this school from the date of her appointment, April 30, 1863, to the date of her retirement, Sept. 10, 1900. The last years of her life she devoted to the seamstress shop which she had begun in 1883, along with her teaching, on Hancock Street in Brooklyn.

Mrs. Garnet had the distinction of being the first African-American woman to attain the rank of principal in the New York City public school system, and she was considered a most efficient administrator. The public presentations and closing exercises of her school--among them the "Literary Salads" made up of quotations from standard authors--always drew large crowds. Some measure of the quality of her work may be found in her students, who included Harry H. Williamson, podiatrist and author; Walter F. Craig, violinist; and Florence T. Ray, Fannie Murray, and S. Elizabeth Frazier, who became successful teachers and leaders in the public schools. On a lesser scale, she touched the lives of many through the night school program which she initiated, emphasizing, in addition to literary education, sewing, homemaking, and vocational training. Mrs. Garnet was both resourceful and persistent. Though frail of body, she had an "unconscious grace and dignity," a serenity and tact, that won the regard of both her pupils and her supervisors.



748 Hancock Street Photo by Felicia Jamieson

Combined with a successful career in teaching and administration were marriage and family life. At an early age she was wed to the Rev. James Thompson, an Episcopal Minister who became the rector of the St. Matthew Free Church of Brooklyn. Mrs. Thompson became an active member of his church and remained an Episcopalian throughout her life. Thompson died in the late 1860's, leaving her with two children, both of whom died young. About 1879, she became the second wife of the Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, a noted educator, Presbyterian clergyman, and abolitionist. His death in 1882 left her again a widow.

Inspired, perhaps, by Garnet's active role in public affairs, and aided by her prominence as the widow of so renowned a leader, Mrs. Garnet in her later years took part in several organizations devoted to the uplift of the African-American people. She was the founder and leading spirit of the Equal Suffrage Club, a small organization of black women in Brooklyn which met in her shop or in her home to advance the cause of political rights for women; although of limited influence, the group remained in existence from the late 1880's until her death. She early joined the National Association of Colored Women, serving in modest capacities for several years. She was active in efforts to remove discrimination against African-American teachers in New York and on one occasion, it is said, joined Bishop W. B. Derrick in testifying before the state legislature at Albany. In 1911 she went to London, England, as a delegate to the first Universal Races Congress. On her return, although then eighty years of age, she actively distributed to her club suffrage literature she had acquired in England. She died that fall at her Brooklyn home of arteriosclerosis and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. A younger sister of Mrs. Garnet, Susan Maria (Smith) McKinney Steward (1845-1918), graduated from the New York Medical School for Women and Children and pursued a successful career as a physician in Brooklyn and later at Wilberforce University in Ohio."
1900 census of Hancock Street

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Largest building in Bedford Stuyvesant


The second 13th Regiment Armory,  i.e.,  the Sumner Avenue Armory,  was built in 1891 to replace the 1874  Flatbush Avenue  Armory. The new armory, designed by Rudolphe Lawrence Daus,  is  a massive,  early medieval inspired,  fortress-like  edifice dominated by a  two-story,  stone-trimmed sally port  and two  symmetrical,  originally six-story round towers  with crenelated parapets.  The armory is currently a city-owned homeless shelter. The second largest Amory in New York City and maybe the country but this building sit unprotected.  We have lost one tower of this great building already.  I hope that we do not lose more.
Orginial Amory Located at Altantic Center

                                                                         Amory Today


Located in the proposed Stuyvesant North Historic District the Thirteenth Regiment Armory covers almost the entire bloc k on Sumner Avenue (Marcus Garvey), between Putnam and Jefferson Avenues.  The cost of its construction was about $650,000.  The architecture of the structure is of the old Norman style with modern improvements of the time.  R. L. Daus  the architect, thinking that the Thirteenth Regiment would prefer a building, suggestive of the Thirteenth Century, and believing  that, apart from sentiment, the Norman barons of that period knew what was serviceable in military architecture with that idea.  The building was regarded by experts as the very expression of simplicity, strength and dignity.
Architect Rodolphe Lawrence Daus was born on August 10, 1854 in Mexico, where his parents ( Lepold and Emma Ruben-Daus a German and French couple) were residing temporarily. Owing to business relations of his father, who was a wholesale merchant. When he was only a few months old he was brought to New York, where he grew up.  At the age of 20 he came to Europe for his studies, entering the world famous Paris School of Fine Arts or École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts .  Among his classmates he was the first to graduate from the second to the first in class, a distinction that entities him to a special prize.  In assertion he gained medals in construction and mathematics, and his first “project.” Or design in the class gained him the highest award obtainable.  Another distinction he gained was the “Achilles le Clair” prize
Before returning to the United States he was married in Paris to Madamoiselle Louise Perrin.  He lived at his first home at 1419 Pacific in Crown Heights North.  During the latter part of his live he lived in the winter in the St. Hubert Hotel and the summers were spent at Sea Gate.  Daus had two daughters, Henriette and Emma and one son William Thallen Daus, who followed his father’s footsteps being a student of architecture at the Beaux Arts.
In 1899 Daus was appointed a member and secretary of the New York Building Code Commission, and, being the only architect in that body.  Daus was, moreover president of the Brooklyn American Institute of Architects, as well as an active member of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and the Beaux Arts Society.  Among the clubs of which he was a member may be mentioned the Brooklyn Club, the Rembrandt Club, the Atlantic Yacht Club, the Riding and  Driving Club and the Riding Club.
Daus was a painter of oil and water color in which he achieved success. Daus died on September 30, 1916 at his Paris home located at 36 Avenue de la Bourdonnais.
Other Daus Buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant:
  • 74 Halsey Street 1886 (unprotected but calendared)
  • 615-613 Throop Ave 1890 (landmarked in 1971 Stuyvesant Heights)  
Daus also designed:

  • 81 Willoughby Street NY& NJ Telephone Bldg. , Brooklyn
  • Lincoln Club in Clinton Hil, Brooklyn
  • NY County National Bank, 8th and 14th St, Manhattan
  • 266 West End Avenue, Manhattan
  • 47 Montgomery Pl., Brooklyn
  • Greenpoint Library, Brooklyn 
  • 135 Plymouth St Dumbo, Brooklyn
Street address: 357 Sumner Avenue (now Marcus Garvey Boulevard, between Putnam and Jefferson avenues)
City: Brooklyn
County: Kings
Year constructed: 1892 - 1894
Architect: Rudolphe Lawrance Daus
Size : Regiment
Square footage: 232,606 NSF
Acreage: 2.62 Acres
Status: Closed in 1971 / Used for homeless men's shelter

Units Stationed:
Years:
13th Regiment 1894 - 1899
13th Heavy Artillery 1900 - 1905
13th Coastal Artillery 1906 - 1907
13th Artillery District Co. 1-12 1908 - 1913
13th Coast Defense Command (Co. 1-12) 1914 - 1921
13th Coast Defense Command (Co. 357 - 368) 1922 - 1922
245th Artillery (Batteries A-M) 1923 - 1923
245th Coast Artillery Regiment 1924 - ????
Transportation Battalion 1961 - ????

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lost Bedford Corners Rem Lefferts House

  Rem Lefferts once lived in the lovely home that was torn down over 100 years ago.  This house was built in 1838 and stood as a major landmark in Bedford (Bedford Corners) for over 70 years.  I wish this place was still standing but today we have a rather unappealing architecture on the north side of Fulton at Arlington Pl.  Lets not lose anymore of our buildings lets landmark Bedford.  Please come out to the public hearing on the 15th of Januaury.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lost Bedford Stuyvesant Old Three Mile House.

Three Mile House on Fulton Street  1909

From City Hall Brooklyn use to have mile houses.  This is the Three mile house that was located on Fulton Street between New York Ave and Brooklyn Ave where Restoration stands today.  This building was built before 1856.