Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Row house
Address: 168 Hancock Street
Cross Streets: Nostrand and Marcy Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1881, addition added 1890s
Architectural Style: Neo-Grec
Architect: M. J. Morrill, addition by Montrose Morris
Other Work by Architect: Morrill-houses on Berkeley Place, Park Slope, also Prospect Heights; Morris-houses in Bed Stuy, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights North, Arlington, Alhambra, Roanoke, Imperial, Renaissance Apartment buildings, among other buildings.
Landmarked: Almost. Part of soon to be designated Bedford Historic District.

The story: This house has a connection to the first Dutch settlers in Brooklyn, a prominent real estate auctioneer, a famous Brooklyn architect and a mysterious tie to prohibition. All of this is wrapped up in a very large house with a very large yard on one of the most prominent streets in Bedford Stuyvesant.

The house is one of a group of three Neo-Grec style, four-story brownstones designed by M.J. Morrill for developer H. A. Weed. Morrill, who designed brownstones and other buildings in several brownstone neighborhoods, used his signature “v” shaped bays, creating something a bit unusual for a block soon to be filled with eclectic homes. This house is different from the others because it includes a double lot of land adjacent to the house, which has boundaries that stretch behind the five houses to the east of this house, giving the owner a great deal of land.

The first owner of the house was the Jeremiah (Jere) Johnson family. If you are a devotee of Brooklyn’s architectural history, you’ve run across the Johnson name often. Jere Johnson was the owner of Brooklyn’s largest real estate auction house. There are literally thousands of ads in the Eagle announcing auctions of property and sometimes the contents of estates from 1872 until 1902 when digitization of the paper stops.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Frame row house
Address: 116 Berkeley Place
Cross Streets: 6th and 7th Avenues
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1862
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: M. J. Morrill
Other work by architect: 104 and 106 Berkeley Place
Landmarked: Yes, part of original Park Slope HD, (1973)

The story: As much as I love the brownstones, brick and limestone houses of Brooklyn, I find these frame houses just irresistible. Especially when they look as nice as this one does, as well as its neighbor, # 118. It may be my country upbringing, where frame clapboard houses were the norm, or just the wonderful proportions of these houses. Or perhaps it’s the relative rarity, especially in later neighborhoods like this part of Park Slope. Whatever it is, these are great houses.