Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row houses
Address: 74-76 Union Street
Cross Streets: Van Brunt and Columbia streets
Neighborhood: Columbia Waterfront District
Year Built: 1850s
Architectural Style: Gothic Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: The Atlantic and Erie Basin docks, less than a block from these houses, brought prosperity and jobs to what was then called “South Brooklyn.” Goods came overseas and down the Hudson from the Erie Canal to Brooklyn’s piers, making this one of the busiest seaports in North America. The size and scope of Brooklyn’s waterfront activity cannot be emphasized enough – it was the fuel that made Brooklyn one of the largest and richest cities in America.

While the piers and ports were still relatively new, some of those who owned businesses on or near the water wanted to live close to work. The lower end of Union Street, which was named for the Union Stores, a warehouse complex near the docks, was developed initially as homes. The first houses were built in the late 1840s and early 1850s, and include these two houses. By 1887, city maps show masonry row houses stretching along this side of the street in one uninterrupted line from one end of the block to the other. Today, these houses are almost lone survivors.