Here’s the next installment of the Strong Place Construction Blog, a series following Brennan Realty Services and their team through the development of three townhouses in Cobble Hill, at the corner of Kane and Strong Place. Today Brennan Realty posts Part Two of the history of the Strong Place properties. The history of the properties is spread over three posts, go here for Part One and tune in for the last installment.
Numbers 2 and 4 Strong Place
Little is known about numbers 2 and 4 Strong Place. We have one photograph take in 1934, and we have the Brooklyn maps to give us a clue as to their dates. We also have census records to show the progression of people who lived there every ten years, and we have the newspapers. Nothing is written about the two houses in the Landmarks Preservation Commission report for Cobble Hill, written when the district was landmarked in 1969. At that time, these reports were in their infancy, and while much more thorough than earlier reports, (the 1965 Brooklyn Heights report is all of one page) they were not able to fill in all of the blanks. The houses were gone by then, and no mention of them was made.
So what can we deduce from the evidence we have? The 1934 photograph offers some clues. The two houses were very similar to number 6 Strong Place, and were probably built at the same time. Unfortunately, the designation report for Cobble Hill totally fails to mention number 6, the last remaining house of the trio that stood on the corner of Strong Place and Harrison, now Kane Street. So we have to do some speculating here. The earliest homes on this block date from the 1830’s, also the time of the Greek Revival style of architecture, of which all three houses are an example. There are other houses on this block, documented as being from the 1830’s that look almost exactly the same. So I think it’s safe to say numbers 2, 4, and 6 Strong Place were built in the 1830’s. Most of the houses in this part of Cobble Hill, from this time period, were built by builder/speculators, and there were usually no architects of record. The 1830’s also pre-dates another of the sources for Brooklyn building information: The Real Estate Record and Builder’s Guide, a weekly magazine, put out by the building and real estate industry. It covered Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and parts of New Jersey and Long Island. It began publishing in 1868.