Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lost Park Slope: The Envelope Please

Our Lost Park Slope quiz asked readers to identify the location of the photograph below:

Where is this Park Slope location?

May we have the envelope please... Ruth Edebohls! correctly identifies the location as the corner of Flatbush and 7th Avenues. Below is the same location today; the view is from the Prospect Heights side of Flatbush, looking west across Flatbush at Park Slope:

Flatbush Avenue, 7th Avenue, and Park Place - 2010

The historic photograph is from the collection of the New York Public Library. The text on the verso reads:

The intersection of Flatbush Ave. and Park Place at Seventh Ave. The trolley tracks run northward on Flatbush Ave. At the left is the Durfey house, on the corner of Seventh Ave. and Park Place; beyond it appear Nos. 8-12 Seventh Ave. and the west side of Park Place. About 1912.

The Durfey house, with its wonderful front porch and mansard roof, on the left in the historic view, formerly stood at 158 Park Place, at the corner of Flatbush Avenue. Erected in 1872 in French Second Empire style, it was the home of Joseph Prentice Durfey, a successful jewelry merchant in New York, who died in 1900:

Brooklyn Eagle, June 26, 1900, p. 3 ("Obituary")
Correction: "Durfey & Shieble" should read "Durfey & Shiebler"

According to William Younger's essential Old Brooklyn Photographs, the Durfey house was occupied by the Durfey family until 1906. After later uses as a dancing school and restaurant, it was demolished in 1932. A 1-story commercial building now occupies the site. (N.b.: Younger reprints the same photograph, but identifies it as circa 1895.)

Younger's book identifies the building on the right, at the corner of 7th Avenue and Flatbush, as the Doherty Building. The building was standing at least as early as 1877, when the following ad appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle:

Brooklyn Eagle, March 12, 1877

The Doherty Building still stands today, although sadly its upper two stories were removed at some point. The original quoining can still be seen on its corners:

Doherty Building in 2010
Flatbush and 7th Avenues

The Doherty Building can be seen in the left foreground of the 1914 view below. The legend on the window identifies the occupant as "Brooklyn Post Office Station 86":

Doherty Building at left, 1914 view

In fact, except for the Durfey residence, all of the other buildings in the top photograph still stand today, albeit in somewhat altered form.

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