Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Complete Blockfront: Charles Long & J. F. Wood, 8th Street

At the same time that owner Charles Long and builder J. F. Wood built the second half of their 9th Street row, in 1884, they commenced what would be their last and greatest collaboration in Park Slope: the entire north side of 8th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. It was a project that would take several years to complete.

8th Street, 7th to 8th Avenues - unprotected

The row is unique in several ways. All of the building lots, including those adjacent to the avenues, are oriented toward 8th Street; more frequently, the lots at a similar row's ends would face the avenues. The entire row comprises 40 houses and is, we believe, the longest continuous row of houses in Park Slope. And they were all built by Charles Long and J. F. Wood in the mid-1880s.

8th Street, 7th to 8th Avenues - unprotected

The houses look largely the same now, but the block was built up in several phases between 1884 and 1886. The complete series of relevant listings from the American Architect and Building News, presented in chronological order, appears below. It should be noted that the listings describe a total of 58 houses, whereas the entire block today holds only 40 houses. Apparently plans were submitted, changed, and then resubmitted, and we have not attempted to map specific listings to specific houses. It is nonetheless clear, both from these listings and from a visual inspection of the houses, that they were all built by the same developers.

"Building Intelligence; Brooklyn," AABN vol. 15, no. 437 (May 10, 1884): p. 227.
– "Eighth St., n s, 87' 10" e Seventh Ave., 15 two-st’y brown-stone dwells., tin roofs; cost, each, $5,500; owner, Chas. Long, 367 Seventh St.; builder, J. F. Wood."

"Building Intelligence; Brooklyn," AABN vol. 16, no. 464 (Nov. 15, 1884): p. 239.
– "Seventh Ave., n e cor. Eighth St., 4 two-st’y and basement brown-stone dwells., and one three-st’y brown-stone dwell, tin and wood roofs; cost, four, $5,000 each and one $6,000; owner, Charles Long, 450 Ninth St.; builder, J. F. Wood."

"Building Intelligence; Brooklyn," AABN vol. 17, no. 483 (Mar. 28, 1885): p. 155.
– "Eighth St., n s, 350' e Seventh Ave., 8 two-st’y brown-stone dwells., tin and wooden roofs; cost, each, $5,000; owner, Chas. Long, 450 Ninth St.; builder, J. F. Wood."

"Building Intelligence; Brooklyn," AABN vol. 18, no. 511 (Oct. 10, 1885): p. 179.
– "Eighth St., n s, 200' w Eighth Ave., 6 two-st’y and basement brick dwells., tin roofs, tin and wooden cornices; cost, each, $5,000; owner, Chas. Long, 299 Seventh Ave; builder, J. F. Wood."

"Building Intelligence; Houses; Brooklyn, N. Y.," AABN vol. 19, no. 535 (Mar. 27, 1886): p. xiii. – "Eighth St., n w, cor. Eighth Ave., 6 two and three-st’y brick dwells., tin roofs; cost, each, $5,500 f or four; $11,000 and $12,000 for others; owner, Chas. Long, 299 Seventh Ave.; builder, J. F. Wood."

“Building Intelligence; Houses; Brooklyn, N. Y.,” AABN vol. 19, no. 537 (Apr. 10, 1886): p. xv.
– “Eighth St., n s, 97' 10" w Eighth Ave., 18 three-st’y brown-stone dwells., tin roofs; cost, each, $6,000; owner, Chas. Long, 299 Seventh Ave.; builder, J. F. Wood.”


Most of the row consists of two story over basement, brownstone faced, single family homes, with a few three story over basement dwellings at either end of the row. The Neo-grec detailing, including the characteristic Long-and-Wood door hood and brackets, is uniform throughout, and is similarly identical to the previous brownstone rows constructed by the prolific pair of developers:

Individual house


Detail - door hood


Detail - stoop


8th Avenue end of row

A Brooklyn Eagle listing for the 1886 row of 18 houses describes the interiors in greater detail. Curiously, this Eagle listing cites the owner as "Mr. Charles Levy", although the Eagle elsewhere correctly identifies him as Long:

Brooklyn Eagle, April 07, 1886, p. 1 ("April Work")

References to other Eagle citations for this row can be found in our Documentary History of the Park Slope Historic District Expansion.

The Brooklyn Public Library's online image collections feature a photograph of this block from 1949. While the houses themselves look very much as they do today, the once-empty street has now become a vast, permanent parking lot for automobiles:

8th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues, 1949 - Brooklyn Public Library

8th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues, 2008 - PSCC photo archive

For reasons unknown, this amazingly intact block of 40 houses from 1884-86 was omitted from the current Park Slope Historic District, designated in 1973. The current Historic District ends just across 8th Avenue. The Park Slope Civic Council is advocating for the expansion of the current Historic District, and this 8th Street block is in the highest-priority "Phase 1-A". It is hoped that the omission will be soon corrected.

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