Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former Michael Vanderhoef house
Address: 40 Hicks Street
Cross Streets: Middagh and Poplar Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1831
Architectural Style: Federal
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Heights HD (1965)
The story: I enjoy walking around Brooklyn Heights because you can trace the progression of time and architectural styles just by walking west from Poplar to Atlantic Avenue, crisscrossing the short streets. It’s architecture 101, Brooklyn style. This part of Brooklyn Heights has long been working class, catering to the trades and people who worked the docks below, only blocks from the gentry in their mansions just up the hill.
When this house was built in 1831, it was home to a cartman named Michael Vanderhoef.
These 19th century “man with a van” entrepreneurs not only hauled goods, but some made their livelihood collecting night-soil, and hauling it away, an important public health service before indoor plumbing. Unless Mr. Vanderhoef had a very large immediate or extended family living here with him, he probably also rented rooms to help make ends meet. This would have been a very desirable location for roomers.
By 1961, when Clay Lancaster published his groundbreaking book, “Old Brooklyn Heights, New York’s First Suburb,” this building had a store on the first floor. In 1976, this house, along with numbers 38 and 38A, next door, were restored to their original appearance. Today it’s a three-family house, and still a great example of a simple, early 19th century clapboard house. Love the six-over-six windows and neat little dentiled cornice. GMAP
(Originally posted 09/07/10)
Next week, I’ll be back with all new BOTD’s.