Two New Landmarks on the Horizon

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by Chelcey Berryhill

After writing about the soon-to-be loss on 11th Street and 4th Avenue, you can bet we’re excited to see not one but TWO wooden houses up for public hearings this week at the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Although we may be a bit biased here at the Wooden House Project, I must say these houses are quite deserving of the individual landmark status!

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Henry and Susan McDonald House (also known as 128 Clinton Avenue)

“This unusually well-preserved and rare free-standing Italianate frame house with Greek Revival style elements was erected for Henry and Susan McDonald in 1853-54. It was built in a period when this area of the Wallabout was undergoing rapid development following an expansion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the opening of several new streets. Located at the crest of a hill with excellent views of the East River and Manhattan, Clinton Avenue was the neighborhood’s premiere residential street, a wide tree-lined boulevard lined with the villas of wealthy merchants. The house’s cubic form, low hipped roof, strongly projected bracketed eaves, molded window surrounds, wood-and-glass double doors with segmental arched transom and wood reveal, and columned portico enriched with dentils and paired brackets are characteristic of the Italianate style. Greek Revival style elements include the fluted porch columns with Ionic capitals, tall first story windows with eared surrounds, and flush horizontal wood siding on the first story facade.”

 

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“The house was occupied by Henry McDonald (a prosperous baker with a business on Catherine Street in Manhattan) and his family until the mid-1870s. Subsequent owners included commodities broker-banker David S. Jones, attorney, later judge Edgar J. Phillips, and physician Domenick Candella. Although there have been changes to the house’s front porch
and stoop rails, some replacement of historic moldings, pivoting sashes installed in place of the original attic casements, and a fire escape added to the façade the McDonald House remains unusually intact and survives today as an important reminder of the early development of Wallabout.”

 

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John and Hannah De Coudres House (also known as 1090 Greene Avenue)

“The De Coudres House is a rare surviving neo-Grec frame town house notable for its elaborate detailing and high degree of integrity. Deeds indicate that the house occupies a lot originally purchased in 1857 by Louis and John De Coudres, partners in firm of Louis De Coudres & Son, brass foundry. By 1860 John and Hannah De Coudres and their six children were occupying a two-story house at 1090 Greene Avenue. John De Coudres died in 1872 and his father, who had been one of the most prominent brass founders in the country, famed for his involvement in fabricating the machinery for the first steamboats and the first fire bells in City Hall Park, passed away in 1873.”

 

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The report goes on to say: “While frame houses were common in this section of Brooklyn in the late 19th century, relatively few survive and the De Coudres House is thus a significant example of the type and also notable for its high level of architectural detail and intactness.” We couldn’t agree more!

Adjacent to the De Coudres House, at 1092 Greene Avenue, still stands the two-story frame house built for Charles De Coudres, the son of Hannah and John. The LPC report says “In 1893 both 1090 and 1092 Greene Avenue were sold to Margaret J. Walsh. In 1902 Walsh sold the houses to Henry C. Bohack (1865-1931), a German immigrant and the founder of the Brooklyn grocery store chain Bohack & Co., later known simply as Bohack’s. Bohack lived at 1090 Greene Avenue between c. 1905 and 1928, along with his wife, a German-born maid, and two German-born boarders.”

Let’s hope 1092 Greene Avenue is up for designation too in the near future! It’s got some lively spindlework.

Stay tuned to our facebook page for updates tomorrow about the hearing.