Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Readers' Questions: Lost Park Slope

Faithful reader "LGR" commented a while back on our "Lost Park Slope" post about the John H. Hanan residence that formerly stood at 118 8th Avenue, corner Carroll Street:

John H. Hanan residence - 118 8th Avenue
C. P. H. Gilbert, architect - ca. 1890
Demolished ca. 1935

"LGR" asks:

If you look at the earlier image of the residence, the row houses just visible are actually not where they should be, if you actually take a look on Carroll Street. Rather, these look very suspiciously like the two houses on the south side of President Street, right off of Eighth Avenue. So, what's going on? Is the original photo reversed? (though I note the mansion is also cited in Merlis in the location given here). I mean, something is amiss.

Here's a closer view of the adjacent Carroll Street house, peeking out from behind the Hanan mansion:

Good question, LGR! What's going on, indeed? Because that house is certainly not there today. Or is it? LGR suggests that what we see in the photo above might actually be one of these houses in President Street, south side, just below 8th Avenue, and that perhaps the old photo above is reversed:

878-876 President Street
Park Slope Historic District
Albert E. White, architect - 1889

An interesting theory! We had noticed the anomaly when we found the photo of the Hanan residence, but just assumed it had been knocked down and incorporated into the footprint of the current apartment building that occupies the corner lot.

But then we checked the DOITT block/lot map, and saw immediately that the current apartment tower's lot had not expanded beyond the original 100' depth on Carroll Street. We have added the rear lot line in green, in the screen shot below:

So what's going on? Here's a recent photo of the adjacent 799 Carroll Street building:

799 Carroll Street - Park Slope Historic District
Albert E. White, architect - 1889
1918 redesign by George Chappell

Actually, the answer is "hiding in plain sight", in the Park Slope Historic District's 1973 Designation Report:

No. 799 Carroll Street was built in 1889 and designed by Brooklyn architect Albert E. White for James C. Jewett. White also designed Nos. 876 and 878 President Street. Originally, it may have resembled the President Street houses, but in 1918 the house was altered to its present neo-Federal appearance by architect George Chappell of Manhattan who had a long and distinguished career in the history of Brooklyn architecture...

So in fact, the old photograph of the Hanan mansion does not lie. That is indeed 799 Carroll Street peeking out from behind the mansion, as it appeared prior to its 1918 remodeling! It looks quite like its President Street companions.

[Sorry for the delayed response, LGR... We don't actually "own" this blog, so we don't receive notifications when someone comments. We should really start a new blog one of these days.]

Updated 7-Dec-2010: The Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, March 22, 1890, states of the Hanan mansion that "the billiard room will be in the tower, circular in form, and with a height of 20 feet."


LGR said...

I had actually considered this (i.e. that the house[s] had been altered), but the fact that there was only one extant seemed to suggest otherwise. But, yes, the Landmarks Report...sometimes I get lazy.

Eric McClure said...

Wow, interesting.

Like an episode of Architectural CSI Park Slope.