Charles Lockwood, King of the Brownstones, Dies at 63


    We were deeply saddened to wake up to the news this morning that Charles Lockwood, the man who put brownstones back on the map when he penned the first edition of his classic Bricks and Brownstone book, had died at the early age of 63 of cancer. The publication of Lockwood’s doorstop of a book in 1972 coincided with (and helped to fuel) the renewed interest in the late-19th century rowhouses that define the Brooklyn landscape. The Times noted Paul Goldberger’s comment in the introduction to the 2003 edition in its obituary this morning: “Bricks and Brownstone” gave the row-house revival “a kind of moral impetus, making it clear how much genuine architectural and urban history lay within these buildings, and how much the row houses of New York are, in fact, the underlying threads of the city’s urban fabric.”

    Back in 2005, shortly after launching Brownstoner, we managed to make contact with Charlie, who was as excited as could be that somebody had named a website after his favorite architectural form. We met that winter at a sushi place in Williamsburg and he came to dinner later that year at our recently-renovated brownstone in Clinton Hill. In addition to an interest in brownstones, we shared an alma mater. He was an eminently more interesting dinner guest than we’ll ever be, though, with his encyclopedic knowledge of a whole host of architectural and historical topics and a sense of humor and energy to match. A real pleasure to spend time with.

    Longtime readers will remember that Charlie wrote several guest posts back in the early days of the site, lending a much needed dose of credibility to the fledgling enterprise. Here’s his first Q & A in 2005 and here’s the kick-off to another series he wrote for in 2007. Looking through our inbox this morning, we were sorry to see an email from him less than a year ago that somehow got lost in the shuffle and we failed to reply to.

    What a great loss.

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