The Amazing Mansions of Brooklyn’s Clinton Avenue: A Tour of American Architectural Styles (Photos)

Photos by Young Gotham

Editor’s note: We are really pleased to present this wonderful photo tour of the mansions of Clinton Avenue. All photos are by Young Gotham, a preservationist and Instagrammer whose work we adore. The text is, of course, by Brownstoner historian Suzanne Spellen, and when available, we have linked to her previous Brownstoner work.

Almost every city and town built in the 19th century has its “Gold Coast” — that street or enclave where the wealthiest people in town built their magnificent homes. Clinton Avenue was the crown jewel of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.

By the Civil War, it was totally built up with fine homes. It was reinvented in the 1870s and ’80s as one of the richest streets in Brooklyn, as oilman Charles Pratt built first his own mansion, then mansions for his sons, and encouraged his oil colleagues to build on Clinton as well. They joined many of Brooklyn’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, inventors, bankers and industrialists, all of whom added to the street’s cachet with large freestanding mansions and impressive townhouses.

Collaboration – 'The Amazing Mansions of Brooklyn's Clinton Avenue: A Tour of American Architectural Styles' this week – ?️ Photos by @young_gotham and text by @SuzanneSpellen. ?️ Here is an excerpt from Suzanne's intro, the complete piece will be available on the #Brownstoner website on Tuesday: 'Almost every city and town built in the 19th century has its “Gold Coast” — that street or enclave where the wealthiest people in town built their magnificent homes. Brooklyn has several of these streets, each in a different neighborhood. Clinton Avenue was the crown jewel of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. ?️ The 20th century saw many of these private homes razed for apartment buildings, as the rich moved to Park Avenue or the new suburbs, and the middle class moved in. Clinton Avenue also lost several blocks of private homes for Navy housing during World War II, now known as the Clinton Hill Co-ops. ?️ In spite of those losses, the architectural legacy of Clinton Avenue remains strong, in large part due to their sheer numbers, and the fact that many of the finest remaining mansions became part of religious and educational institutions, and were thereby spared destruction. ?️ What remains, both privately owned and institutional, is an architectural timeline of great Brooklyn architecture in a great neighborhood. We've linked them to the Brownstoner archives, where you can get more information. We picked a few out of many, and so encourage you to stroll down Clinton Avenue yourself — there’s so much more to see.' Stay with us for lots more! ? #brookyln #clintonhill #nycarchitecture #nycrealestate #architecture #oldhouselove #architecturephotography @fabfulton

A photo posted by Brownstoner (@brownstoner) on

In the 20th century, some were razed to make way for apartment buildings, as the rich moved to Park Avenue or the new suburbs. What remains, both privately owned and institutional, is an architectural timeline of great Brooklyn architecture in a great neighborhood. We encourage you to stroll down Clinton Avenue yourself — there’s so much to see.

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