Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Hicks-Platt House
Address: 27 Gravesend Neck Road
Cross Streets: McDonald Avenue and Van Sicklen Street
Year Built: 1659-1663, but maybe 1700
Architectural Style: Dutch Colonial
The story: Gravesend is the only one of Brooklyn’s original six towns that was not established by the Dutch. English Anabaptists led by Lady Deborah Moody settled here in 1643. A persecuted religious sect in England, they had come to North America to find religious freedom, as had the Puritans and other sects. Settling in New England, they found it as intolerable to their faith as England had been, with even less religious freedom. Leaving there, Lady Moody and her group made their way to New Amsterdam and found the Dutch much more accommodating. The Village of Gravesend was laid out soon afterward, arranged with a town square and surrounding street grid. This house lies within the original village’s fortified borders.
The house was built between 1659 and 1663, according to some experts, or perhaps even as late as 1700. Charles A. Ditmas, of the Kings County Historical Society, told the Brooklyn Eagle in 1932 that he thought the house was built by the Van Sicklen family at that later date. Local lore has it that the house was used as a hospital for several of General Washington’s men fleeing the disastrous Battle of Brooklyn in Gowanus, in 1776. That may be true, but if they did, they didn’t stay long, and they would have had to have been well hidden. The British and their Hessian mercenaries made Coney Island the beachhead for their invasion of Brooklyn, and would have been all over Gravesend. They stayed and occupied Brooklyn for the remainder of the war. (more…)