History

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Open two browser windows at once and read Alexis’ first-hand account of accompanying a family of former occupants on their return to one of the Officer’s Row houses in the Brooklyn Navy Yard while you look at Corie’s haunting photographs documenting the visit. Great stuff for all of us urban archaeologists.
First Glimps Inside, Part I [callalille.com]
Coming Home [Lex’s Folly]
Finally Inside! [Daily Heights]

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We happened to be walking by the Williamsburg Art & Historical Society Building yesterday when we noticed the doors were actually open. (Evidently it’s always opened on weekends and we just never noticed before.) Located at 135 Broadway right next to the bridge, the old bank building is a beautiful example of French Second Empire Design. Built in 1867 by King & Wilcox Architects, it was converted into a gallery and theater space in 1996 by Uko Nii. Some vestiges of its former life as a bank still exist (an old teller counter that looks more like a bar, for example). According to the older gentleman working the door, they are waiting for a new fire escape before reopening the upstairs theater. We weren’t blown away by the art on display, but it’s definitely worth a visit to see the old wood paneling, columns, plastered ceiling and vaulted windows.

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Here’s an inspiring story for those of you contemplating taking on an historic gut reno. One of our oldest friends grew up in an 1816 brick house in Philadelphia’s Society Hill, once (and now again) one of the most fashionable quarters of Philadelphia. Towards the end of the 19th century, the neighborhood began a slow decline that saw most of the residences converted to rooming houses for those who worked at the nearby docks and food market. From sometime in the 1930’s to the 1950’s, a luncheonette occupied the first floor while the proprietors inhabited the upper floors.

In the mid 1960’s the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority undertook the country’s first historical neighborhood restoration project…

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There’s an interesting piece in the Landmark Conservancy Autumn 2004 newsletter about the renovation of a Greek Revival house in Bay Ridge. Originally built for Joseph Bennett in 1847 on Shore Road overlooking the Verazzano Narrows, the house was moved in 1913 to 95th Street, making one of the few buildings to pre-date that neighborhood’s development in the 1930’s. Most recently, the house was purchased from an estate by Maryanne and Pasquale Dellituri in 1997. It was designated an individual landmark in 1999, and the extensive restoration began in 2000. Check out the newsletter for more details on the renovation scope and process.
Autumn 2004 Newsletter [NY Landmarks Conservancy]

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Don’t miss the most recent installment of Forgotten NY. Kevin posted two new pieces yesterday. The first is on Coney Island, a place which loses more and more of its historic treasures every year, according to Kevin. We look forward to his next Coney Island installment in which he promises to focus on the oft-overlooked architectural gems, like the house above.

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A small piece in the House & Home section today drew our attention to the Architectural Heritage Center website. Established in Portland in 1987, the center houses the collection of architectural artifacts accumulated by the two lifelong Pacific Northwest preservationists, Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan. It’s part museum, part educational resource. We wish there were a lot more pictures of the salvaged pieces on the website, but it’s still a fun browse and will be a must-see for us the next time we find ourselves in that part of the world.
Architectural Heritage Center