1925

by Lisa Santoro

Recently, while browsing the New York Public Library’s fantastic photo gallery, I discovered a picture of my beloved Marine Park taken in 1925 with a caption that read “part of one of Brooklyn’s largest developments.” I am very familiar with this row of houses and the scores of others that look just like them; having grown up in Marine Park, I have walked by them almost daily for most of my life.

I live in a wooden house and I didn’t even know it! >

lott-house-1
by Lisa Santoro

As a child growing up in Marine Park, the Lott House was an enigma to me. Amidst a block of prototypical Marine Park homes of brick and siding with neatly manicured front yards and carports, there stood the Lott House, in stark juxtaposition to its surroundings. Despite not knowing much about the building, I was utterly fascinated by it. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. I was proud to have such a historic treasure in my proverbial back yard, something that I — in my young mind — felt my neighborhood was otherwise lacking. Although I would not have known it at the time, this was my first true combined appreciation of architecture and history as well as the recognition of the importance of such a site within the community. But as grandiose as it was to me, it was also a frightening sight to behold, given its state of disrepair and decay. As a result, the neighborhood kids would attest that the house was haunted. Which made sense. It was, after all, an old, wooden, rickety, presumably abandoned home, surrounded by a large parcel of land full of overgrown weeds and often littered with trash. For years, the Lott House remained in this state. A building that had all the potential to be a neighborhood treasure had been reduced to a broken-down eyesore. This is my memory of the Lott House in the early 1990s.

Yet as I write this piece, my childhood treasure is undergoing restoration. The newly-restored Hendrick Lott House is anticipated to be open to the public in the Spring of 2014.

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