Building of the Day: 74 Cornelia Street


The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.

Address: 74 Cornelia Street, between Bushwick and Evergreen
Name: John Welz House
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built:1880’s, estimation
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architects: Unknown
Landmarked: No

Why chosen: While Bushwick Avenue has some of the area’s finest mansions, there are some great buildings on the side streets as well. Cornelia St. is well appointed in this regard, featuring a very intact Painted Lady just across the street from this house, and there are some other interesting buildings elsewhere on the block, although most are covered in some kind of non-period siding. This is one of the largest lots around, at 100′ x100′, and has a huge 40′ x 50′ foot house, as well as a barn-like carriage house in the rear. John Welz owned the home by at least 1899, when he threw a party there for his brother-in-law, a decorated soldier in the Spanish-American War. Welz was quite a character, a successful brewer and businessman whose name appears often in the Eagle, the entries equally divided between his businesses, his very active life as a marksman, all around sportsman and hunter, and officer and member in the Swabian Saengerbund, a German singing and social club. He also had a propensity for being sued, I found references to at least 10 cases in 20 years. In addition, he was a board member of the People’s Bank, in Bushwick, and the co-owner of the Welz and Zerwick Brewery, the Leibinger Brewing Company, and a major shareholder in the Flatbush Hygeia Ice Company. I wasn’t able to find out how long he lived here, but this house certainly suites a man of his social stature. In more recent years, the original clapboard has been covered up by siding, which also hides, or replaces, most of the decorative elements of the house, and modern roofing materials replace slate. Nonetheless, it is still in great shape, with a fine porch with original detail, and some stained glass. The carriage house has been made into apartments, but still is an impressive structure as well. Another fine Bushwick house.



2 Comment

  • Not what most folks would picture when they heard ‘Bushwick.’ Would love to see inside, and the carriage house.

  • This is indeed a wonderful buiding. Its interior is at least as interesting as its exterior. Back in the late 1970’s the people on the block were organizing a block association and chose to hold its initial meeting in this building’s main parlour. As the CB District Manager, I was invited to attend. Suffice it to say that there are good sized apartments that are smaller than this huge room. And much of the original interior designs were still very much in place.

    While I don’t know what changes may or may not have occurred here during the past thirty years, the excellent condition of the exterior provides goods grounds for hope. Anyhow, it would be great if a tour of this fascinating interior space can be arranged.

    By the way, keep up the great posts to this terrific site.