Room for a Horse: The Charm of the Carriage House

Photo by Susan De Vries for Brownstoner


Scattered throughout Brooklyn Heights are delightful remnants of the horse age. Surviving carriage houses, like the one located 151 Willow Street, attract photographers and are targets of extreme real estate envy. Many of the remaining Brooklyn Heights carriage houses were built in the 1860s to 1880s as horse stables, later converted to garages with the transition from horse to auto, and are now coveted dwellings.

brooklyn-heights-architecture-carriage-house-151-Willow Street

This appears to be the case with the carriage house at 151 Willow Street. A 1911 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle informed the public that the “Van Anden family stable” at 151 Willow Street was built about 1876 by William Van Anden and plans were being made to convert the building from a horse stable to a garage.

The AIA Guide to New York dates the building at circa 1870. It appears that even while used as a stable it housed both horses and people — stablehands and coachmen — and with the conversion to a garage this continued. By 1931 another notice in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle noted that it, “the garage and dwelling,” had recently been leased.

Set back from the street, the brick carriage house, now a two-family residence, has a broad, bracketed cornice and simple brick detailing above the arched windows.

brooklyn-heights-architecture-carriage-house-151-Willow Street

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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