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Thread: Victorian Flatbush

  1. #31
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Building of the Day: 242 Rugby Road

    Name: Private House
    Address: 242 Rugby Road
    Cross Streets: Beverley and Cortelyou Roads
    Neighborhood: Beverley Square West
    Year Built: around 1901-1902
    Architectural Style: Queen Anne
    Architect: One of four architects, perhaps John J. Petit
    Other Work by Architect: All with houses throughout Victorian Flatbush
    Landmarked: No, but most of Victorian Flatbush that isn’t, should be.

    The story: The “Beverley Squares” as they are called, both East and West, are sandwiched in between Ditmas Park and Prospect Park South in that vast former suburban area we call Victorian Flatbush. It is a mystery to me why they were not landmarked long ago when both Prospect Park South and Ditmas received the protection of landmarking. Housing such as today’s BOTD is typical here in the Beverley’s, and is a celebration of the imagination and spirit of the turn of the 20th century’s architects and the developers they worked for. These particular neighborhoods were the brainchild of prolific developer Thomas B. Ackerson.

    With savings garnered from his job at the Knickerbocker Ice Company, Thomas Benton Ackerson, who went by “T.B.,” started investing in real estate. With a little more than $85K, he bought ten acres of Flatbush land from the Lott family and began to develop two neighborhoods now known as Beverley Square East and West. He envisioned an upscale suburban development where no two houses were the same and every house had a lawn. He had great drive, got great help and managed to have 42 houses built in Beverley Square West which sold in no time. T.B. was on his way.

    T.B. took his cues from the other developers around him, like Prospect Park South’s Dean Alvord and Ditmas Park’s Louis Pounds, and hired some of the same architects they used. John J. Petit, A. White Pierce, J.A. Davidson and Benjamin Dreisler designed all of the houses in Beverley Square. I was not able to sort out the mess of who did what, but one of them was the architect of this house. If I had to take a guess, it would be Petit who designed some of Prospect Park South’s most imaginative houses.

    T.B. Ackerman was a canny operator who understood that names can make a big difference in marketing. The streets of Flatbush had been laid out with numbers, but he, with the support of Dean Alvord and others, was the one who petitioned the city to change the names to tony sounding English place names. East 11th through 15th Streets became Stratford, Westminster, Argyle, Rugby, Marlborough and Beverley Roads. Alvord contributed Albemarle and Buckingham, and Dorchester and others would follow in that vein in Ditmas Park and neighborhoods to the south.

    Ackerman made a tidy profit, and spurred by his success, went on to develop Fiske Terrace, Midwood and Brightwater, Long Island as well as developments in New Jersey, all incorporated within his NY Land and Warehouse Company. He earned, as the Builder’s Guide put it, “a pile of money.”

    This is one of the cutest and most imaginative houses in Beverley Square. It’s a late Queen Anne gem with a wonderfully arched, wrap around porch, supported by thick columns, and a tower and turret that burst forth from the body of the house, which is clad in shingles and clapboard. There’s stained glass and patterned shingles, dormers and gables popping out everywhere, all emphasized by the canvas shades. You can’t help but smile when you see this building. Landmark it and its neighbors before it’s too late, please!

  2. #32
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    As a child I had often rummaged this neighborhood with my old man, specially in the summer of 87 when I served as a his copilot in his car service gig and opened and closed doors for passngers (I wanted a Nintendo and he had told me that I had to work to get it). It was a shithole then but even then I recall how incredible these houses and tree lined streets were; Argyle Rd and Ditmas Ave always mesmerized. Through college I would bemoan that I was not going to get a job before the neighborhood prices took off, and boy it did.

    Through the graces of good fortune in finding a reasonable deal that entailed an aspect of locale sacrifice (but not structure) and nimble time management I have recently become a proprietor (and by default official curator) of one of the lots in the codray of neighborhoods known as Victorian Flatbush. !

    And thusly, any effort and fight to maintain these vintage semblances of magnificent architecture will henceforth be an even more personal and passionate endeavor for me; especially keeping these lots away from greasy hands of the knaves we know as developers or any other human force of destruction.
    Last edited by TREPYE; May 17th, 2013 at 09:02 AM.

  3. #33
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    (My house is in the expanded landmark region )

    Emily Baron for New York Daily News

    Ditmas Park Victorians, like this at E. 17th St. and Dorchester Rd., need to be protected as landmarks, the city says.

    A whopping 1,150 Victorian-style homes around Ditmas Park would be landmarked to maintain their historic character under a proposal being pushed by local pols and community leaders.
    City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush) and other elected officials are urging the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to bestow that status on the homes, built 100 years ago by a small group of architects who converted the neighborhood from farmland into a tree-lined community.
    “We are big believers in preserving and celebrating the history of what we have in this community,” said Williams’ spokesman Stefan Ringel.
    The Bloomberg administration is reviewing the 437-page application, submitted in March by a group of neighborhood associations and the Flatbush Development Corp.
    In the past decade, the historic district designation stemming from similar proposals has been phased to cover smaller sections over several years.
    Once landmarked, owners are required to obtain permission from the city’s preservation commission before they can begin almost any type of construction.
    Some residents worry, however, that the landmark status will make it difficult for cash-strapped neighborhood homeowners to make repairs that comply with the rigid requirements.
    “You’re putting a burden on someone who is already struggling to upgrade or maintain their home,” said Andrew Weakland, 28, who lives in Ditmas Park.
    Proponents of the plan note that property values in historic districts have increased at a slightly greater rate than comparable homes outside the district, according to a study by the Independent Budget Office, issued in 2003.
    Preservationists are worried that residents in Victorian Flatbush will destroy the historic homes, if left to their own devices.
    “Most owners are protective of the character of their homes, but a minority seems to have no particular interest in the history and character of their neighborhoods and have attached brick facades and other inappropriate materials,” the landmark application states.
    The proposal would cover Beverly Square East, Beverly Square West, Caton Park, Ditmas Park West, South Midwood and West Midwood.
    Swaths of homes in the Ditmas Park area have already been landmarked, but that process has been done piecemeal since 1978.
    Members of the Victorian Flatbush Landmarking Committee, the group leading the charge, call the latest effort “completing the quilt,” Ringel said.
    Neighbor Freda Rosenfeld, 55, said she supports the landmark status, but was worried that it would further outprice the middle class.
    Currently, houses in the neighborhood sell for upwards of $1 million.
    “I can’t imagine prices going any higher than they already are,” she said. “The city should ensure that this always remains a neighborhood where young middle-class families can buy homes.”
    “It’s a neighborhood that’s hidden in plain sight,” said Brooklyn historian Ron Schweiger, who will lead his next walking tour of Victorian Flatbush on Sunday. “Even people who live in Brooklyn are unfamiliar with the area, and are amazed to see these turn-of-the-century Victorian-style homes.”
    Victorian Flatbush House Tour begins at Temple Beth Emeth at 83 Marlborough Road, Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. For information, visit

    Read more:
    Last edited by TREPYE; June 10th, 2013 at 01:10 PM.

  4. #34
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    The Magic of Dusk....
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