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: 670 Bushwick Avenue, corner of Willoughby Avenue
Name: Originally the William Ulmer House, then the Dr. Frederick A. Cook House, now private
Year Built: 1885
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
William Ulmer was a successful brewer here in Bushwick. In fact, his brewery and office, on nearby Beaver St. is the only remaining brewery building complex left in Bushwick, and was recently landmarked. This large mansion suits a successful man such as Ulmer, and must have been spectacular in its day.
It was later owned by Frederick Cook, the arctic explorer who claimed to be the first man to reach the North Pole, but he later lost his case in court to Admiral Robert Peary. As the years passed the house eventually became a clinic, and was then abandoned.
When I first came to Brooklyn, this house was boarded up, the grounds a mess, and I was sure it wouldn’t survive. Another large mansion directly across the street did not, and that lot is now being marketed for a 5 house development.
Fortunately, the Ulmer house has been rehabbed, and is a four unit dwelling. I wonder if there is any period detail remaining inside.
[Photos by Suzanne Spellen]