Now’s your chance to live in a bit of Brooklyn history. The historic Hicks-Platt House aka Van Sicklen House aka Lady Moody House at 27 Gravesend Neck Road is up for sale.
The five-bedroom farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city (hence all the time to rack up all those names) and is being put on the market just before the Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to consider whether or not to designate the building as a historic landmark. Gothamist was the first to write about the listing.
The home will be considered on October 8 as part of a number of properties in Brooklyn that have been on the LPC backlog for years. It’s sometimes the case that worthy landmarks will stall in the designation process when they don’t have the owner’s backing — although we don’t know that’s the case here.
The home has a contested history. Lady Deborah Moody founded the village of Gravesend — the first English settlement in the New Netherlands — in 1643. This home sits within the original boundary of the village.
But did Lady Moody herself ever live there? Probably not.
The house was probably built between 1659 and 1663, possibly as late as 1700. Charles A. Ditmas, of the Kings County Historical Society, told the Brooklyn Eagle in 1932 that he thought the house was built by the family of farmer Ferdinandus Van Sicklen at that later date.
As Montrose Morris detailed in a previous post about the building:
As the years passed, the house would pass to the Hicks family, and then in the late 1890s to William E. Platt. Platt was a wheeler-dealer real estate developer who was selling land and houses in the southern Brooklyn suburban communities of Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay and Gravesend. (“Magnificent lots, starting terms of only 20 cents a day!”) Perhaps because this was an old house within the old Gravesend village border, or just for the attention and hype, he began touting it as the home of Lady Deborah Moody herself. It was not. But why let facts get in your way? People believed it, and for many years, the house was known and referred to as the “Lady Moody House.”
The star actor of the story can be yours for just $869,000. It’s clear from the listing photos that the home has been updated — Ferdinandus Van Sicklen did not have granite countertops.
The listing also says the home could be purchased as a “possible development.” Given the timing of the sale, perhaps the owner is looking to cash out before any possible legal entanglements with Landmarks.
However, if an owner wants to tear down a building that is not landmarked, there is typically little Landmarks can do. There are only a handful of 18th century Brooklyn farmhouses left. If it is razed, it would be a piece of history forever lost.
27 Gravesend Neck Road [Kingsview Realty]
27 Gravesend Neck Road Coverage [Brownstoner]
Brooklyn’s Historic “Lady Moody” House Is On The Market [Gothamist]
Landmarks Commission Announces Plan to Deal With Backlog of Proposed Landmarks [Brownstoner]
Photos below via listing