BrooklynHistoricalSociety

I simply don’t know what I’d do without the Brooklyn Historical Society. I credit most of my Brooklyn knowledge to its wonderful collections, which are invaluable to anyone looking to research a house’s history. If you fall into that camp (and since you’re reading this I assume you do), head on over to the BHS library on the corner of Pierrepont & Clinton Streets and spend an afternoon in one of the most stunning interiors in all of Brooklyn. While there, you’ll probably encounter Elizabeth Call, Special Collections Librarian.

Since the Wooden House Projects gets so many questions about how to research your house, I thought I’d spend some time with Liz getting her take on the collections that would be most interesting to our readers.

Read on for some tips of the trade!


Do you own or are you curious about a house in Brooklyn, but don’t know where to start your research? We are excited to be giving away one free ticket to the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Research Your House workshop, taking place at 2pm on Saturday, April 27th (retail value of $50)! Entering is easy and requires just two simple steps:

1) Start following us on Instagram and Twitter
2) Upload at least one photo with #woodenhouseproject

Winner will be chosen at random on the morning of Monday, April 22nd. If you are already following us, don’t worry, you’re still entered – just follow step #2!

Also: Does anyone know where the wooden houses above are located?

On Saturday, April 27th from 2:00-4:00 pm, the Brooklyn Historical Society will be hosting a course on how to uncover the history of your home using images, records and documents from their collection. According to the Society, by the end of the two-hour session “attendees will have learned to piece together the social history of a Brooklyn home or block.”A fascinating opportunity for any frame house owner!

Advance registration is required. To sign up, visit the Society’s webpage.

Have an event you’d like listed on The Wooden House Project? Let us know!


Over the years, the beauty of Brooklyn’s wood-frame row houses has been masked under all sorts of siding. The average passer-by has no way of knowing that underneath the siding could lie the bones of something magical.

Fortunately for us, the NYC Department of Records (aka the Municipal Archives) possesses a fantastic collection of photos that allows us to peel back the siding for a peak at what lies beneath. One only needs to know the home’s block and lot number (which can be searched HERE) to view its “Tax Photo” for free on microfilm at the Municipal Archives, or to order a clean copy for around $35.00. Tax Photos were taken by the City in the years between 1939 and 1941 as a tool for appraising properties, and in that time they snapped a photo of every single building in all five boroughs of New York. Today the collection is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to restore their house or research the history of their neighborhood.

Read More