There’s a lot to unpack in this circa 1847 townhouse in the Cobble Hill Historic District. What we can say with some certainty is that the four-story, 25-foot-wide brick beauty was originally built in the Gothic Revival style.
187 Amity Street has four original marble mantels inside to prove it — two black with gold veins and two brown — along with an old heating stove, wide planks floors in an upper hall, and a mixture of hardwood and parquet elsewhere. The layout is for two duplexes, with kitchens in the rear of the garden level and second floor, a laundry room on the top, and a garden in back paved with stones, based on the floor plan. The parlor level has been opened up.
Some of the ornamental features, such as the foliate crown molding on the parlor level, floor-to-ceiling parlor windows, exterior cornice and arched front doorway likely date from a later renovation, perhaps circa 1860s. The hood over the front door might be even later — perhaps circa 1900. As a whole, in any case, the house leaves a very nice impression, mixed heritage or not. The condition of the kitchens and bathrooms is left a mystery, but the listing invites “someone to make it their own.”
187 Amity Street is one of a pair of houses built by William H. Hays (or Hayes), a ship’s captain, for himself and his daughter, married to a dry goods merchant named Ira Smith Jr. Originally the house would have had Gothic-style drip cap moldings around the windows and doors, traces of which can still be seen on the facade and in the 1940 tax photo on its twin. Seven or eight years after the first pair, another daughter built the other three house in the Anglo-Italianate style that by then was in fashion. Brownstoner columnist Suzanne Spellen gives the whole story its due in a 2015 Building of the Day.
Another colorful note: Winston Churchill’s mom grew up on the block. Alex Calabretta of Douglas Elliman has the house listed for $4.8 million, which may or may not leave room for making it your own. Is it a fair price?
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