Friday, April 10, 2009

Who lived in your house?

Decatur Street houses of Stuyvesant Heights

Have you ever wondered about the history of your house, apartment, church or other building in Bedford Stuyvesant? When was it built? Why was it built? Who owned it? What happened to the people who lived there? Is your house famous? Or, my perennial favorite question as a child, does it have any secret tunnels or cubbyholes? Whether you're looking for documentation for historic status or are just plain inquisitive, tracing a property's history and learning about the people who have lived there can be a fascinating and fulfilling project.
We need to show Landmarks Preservation Commission just how historic Bedford Stuyvesant is to New York. I am conducting research on buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant and parts of Crown Heights North which was Bedford Stuyvesant years ago... There are usually two types of information that I search for: 1) architectural facts, such as date of construction, name of architect or builder, construction materials, and physical changes over time; and 2) historical facts, such as information on the original owner and other residents through time, or interesting events associated with the building or area. A house history may consist of either type of research, or be a combination of both.

Bedford Stuyvesant is one of the oldest neighborhood in America let alone Brooklyn and is full of rich history. Much of this history of Bedford Stuyvesant has been lost over the years. Many people who live outside the neighborhood only know of the neighborhoods recent history. Bedford Stuyvesant community has been around since in the 1600's and the history should be preserved.

Please feel free to submit what you know about any building in Bedford Stuyvesant preferably outside any historic district. Also If you would like to know information on your home feel free to e-mail . I would try to find as much information as possible about buildings that are submitted and publish my results on this site. Lets work together and save and preserve our beautiful neighborhood.

275-285 MacDonough Street

For Example on MacDonough Street in the Stuyvesant Heights landmark district the houses above were built between 1885 and 1898. The first home to the far left no. 275 MacDonough is a fine French Neo-Grec house, built in 1888 respectively, for W. A. Walsh. The architect was Isaac D. Reynolds. The two-sided masonry bay extending the full height of the house with recessed panels under the windows and incised ornament on the enframements. The doorway, located have projecting lintels with incised ornament; they are supported on elongated console brackets. The roof cornices are also carried on elongated brackets, carefully related to the windows below them.

No. 277, an individually built French Neo-Grec house, was erected in 1888 for Rev. George F Pentecost of Tompkins Avenue Congregational Church and designed by J. C. Markham. Like its neighbors at the west, nos 273 & 275, it has a two sided masonry bay window extending the full height of the house. The handsome billet moldings at the bottom of the door and window lintels are distinctive decorative feature.

No. 279-283. These three houses, which combine late Romanesque Revival style with the classical trends of the 1890s, were designed by the Brooklyn architect Frederick D. Vrooman and built in 1895 by John F. Saddington. All three houses have rounded offset facades which make the transition from the recessed row of houses at the west to the corner house (no. 285) which is brought forward to the sidewalk line. Rough-cut stone-work at the basement and second floor lends a rugged quality to these houses, in strong contrast to the smooth intervening wall. The third floors, faced with sheet metal stamped with shallow Corinthian pilasters, have richly ornamented convex roof cornices above them. The wrought iron handrainling at the stoops and cast iron newel post show Romanesque influence.

No 285 at the corner of MacDonough and Lewis is a yellow brick Italian Renaissance style house was built in 1898 by John Seddington in collaboration with Vrooman. It is four stories high above a low basement. The brickwork on the exterior of this house is laid to resemble rusticated stonework.

This is the 1900 census which shows the first people that lived in these homes.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very cool project. The only information I can find (although I haven't looked very hard) is about the people who lived in my building. Obituaries and arrests seem to be all that come up in my searches.