Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cevedra Blake Sheldon, pt. 2

Once again we turn our attention to prolific Park Slope builder Cevedra Blake Sheldon, who built a row of five buildings on the northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Garfield Place in 1888-89:

151-159 7th Avenue - unprotected

The corner building, at Garfield Place, was originally built for mixed-use, with the first floor flush with the sidewalk, accomodating a store, and three flats above; it retains this same configuration today. Park Slope is filled with these early mixed-use buildings, often located on prime corner locations. C. B. Sheldon himself built three identical buildings on this same intersection of 7th Avenue and Garfield Place. 6th Avenue has many
buildings of this configuration, even though in many cases the first floor has been converted from commercial to residential use.

What's interesting about this row in 7th Avenue is that the four buildings adjacent to the corner store were originally entirely residential in use. They were "flat houses", each built to house four families, one per floor. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Feb. 2, 1889 notes that each of the first floor apartments contained a 3-bedroom apartment:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 2, 1889 ("New Flats")

These buildings reflect the original pattern of development along 7th Avenue: in those days, it was not exclusively commercial, as it is now. Hard as it may be to imagine today, some of the buildings in 7th Avenue's commercial core were originally exclusively residential.

The entire row was probably converted to mixed-use, with first floor commercial, not long after the buildings were constructed. Surprisingly, one of the "flat houses" retains its original low stoop, door, and original neo-Grec cast-iron balusters:

Detail, 155 7th Ave. - unprotected

In a subsequent post we will examine remnants of single-family residences in 7th Avenue.


J$ said...

the three identical ones look very similar to the ones on 5th ave at the corners of carroll and president (home to moutarde and the cat clinic respectively)

HDEC said...

J$, those buildings indeed look identical.

But take a look here, where the NE corner of 5th Ave. & Carroll St. is attributed to builder James C. Jewett. What to make of this?:

Thanks for reading!