Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Early C. B. Sheldon in 9th Street - 1870

Those who frequent the Prospect Park YMCA in 9th Street will no doubt be very familiar with a row of five brick-front Italianate houses on the south side of the street between 5th and 6th Avenues... the houses stand just opposite the cardio room and there is not much else to look at while running on the treadmill!

Fortunately they are very handsome houses, despite having lost their original stoops. We love the rounded door- and window-hoods, and the tall parlor windows that drop all the way to the floor, so characteristic of Italianate style:

364 9th Street - unprotected

It turns out these are some of the earliest houses standing in Park Slope. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of December 1, 1870, they were built by Mr. C. B. Sheldon, who as we have seen later became very active in 7th Avenue:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 1, 1870, p. 2 ("Improvements in Gowanus")

We suspect the decorative window and door hoods may be made of cast iron; Professor Andrew Dolkart has called our attention to similar cast iron elements of contemporary buildings in Clinton Hill. It would be interesting to hold up a magnet and see if it sticks. If any of our readers could test this theory, please let us know!:

All five of the buildings in this row still stand; the others can be seen in our photo album for the block.

How confident are we about this attribution? Well, their late Italianate style is appropriate for the year of the Eagle article (1870); the buildings are two story over basement, as cited in the article; and they are the only group of five brick-front houses on the block. The article could not refer to any other buildings on the block. The attribution seems firm to us.

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