Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Who doesn’t love this colorful, perfectly sized and proportioned Victorian Flatbush house? It is one of many built by developer and architect T.B. Ackerson in suburban Flatbush.

Name: Single-family detached wood-frame house
Address: 317 Rugby Road
Cross Streets: Beverley and Cortelyou roads
Neighborhood: Beverley Square West (part of Victorian Flatbush)
Year Built: 1902
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Thomas Benton Ackerson
Other works by architect: Almost all of the houses in Beverley Square West, as well as houses in Beverley Square East and Fiske Terrace
Landmarked: No, but part of a proposed and long-overdue Victorian Flatbush Historic District

Although parts of the suburban neighborhoods we collectively call Victorian Flatbush are landmarked, there are large parts that are not. Many of them contain exceptionally fine residential architecture; some designed by and built by the same men who created their landmarked neighbors.

Efforts are still underway to petition the LPC to protect these neighborhoods, all of which contain homes that have already been torn down for new construction, or architecturally re-muddled beyond recognition.

None of the neighborhoods in Victorian Flatbush developed on their own, or without plan. All had the guiding hand of a visionary planner and developer. They built for profit, but they also wanted to create beautiful neighborhoods that would be their legacy. All succeeded.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Detached single-family wood-framed house
Address: 457 Rugby Road
Cross Streets: Dorchester and Ditmas Avenues
Neighborhood: Ditmas Park West
Year Built: 1910-11
Architectural Style: Queen Anne with a hint of Arts and Crafts
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, but filed with LPC for consideration, and should be.

The story: Developer Louis H. Pounds, through his Manor Realty Company, purchased the land that currently makes up Ditmas Park and Ditmas Park West in 1902 from the Ditmarsen family, which had farmed here since the late 1600s.

Flatbush was Brooklyn’s new suburbia at this time, with several important developers overseeing the transition as old farmlands became lots with fine homes for Brooklyn’s wealthier set, who wanted to be within reach of the city, but not in it.

Many of these developers, including Pounds, were looking at the model set forth by Dean Alvord, the master developer of posh Prospect Park South, only blocks from here.

Alvord’s development of PPS had begun in 1898, and by the time Pounds began working on Ditmas Park, Alvord was well on his way, with wide streets filling up with grand, enormous houses.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Morris L. Holman house
Address: 94 Rugby Road
Cross Streets: Church Avenue and Albemarle Road
Neighborhood: Prospect Park South
Year Built: 1907
Architectural Style: Spanish Mission Revival
Architect: John J. Petit
Other works by architect: Many of the great houses of Prospect Park South. On Rugby Road: 88, 100, 154, 205, 219 and 220; also 1306, 1510 and 1519 Albemarle Road, and 131 Buckingham Road, the “Japanese House.”
Landmarked: Yes, part of Prospect Park South Historic District (1981)

The story: For architect John J. Petit, Prospect Park South was a dream come true. What architect wouldn’t want to work for clients who wanted the best of everything and encouraged their architects to go all out, design-wise?

Petit was the perfect man for the job. He was highly imaginative and very good at using the design themes of other times and cultures in his projects. He didn’t create copies, but used his source material as inspirations for entirely new work.

This skill would come in handy not only for Prospect Park South, but also for Dreamland, the Coney Island amusement park that Petit designed for mega-developer William Reynolds. Like the homes of Prospect Park South, it too was a collection of themes from all over the world, with Moroccan minarets, Venetian palazzi and Japanese tea houses.


Spring house tour season is here again and a number of neighborhoods across Brooklyn will be opening up some of their most stunning houses for anyone to see. Here’s a roundup of the tours coming up over the next month.

The 31st annual Brooklyn Heights house tour will take place on Saturday, May 9 from 1 pm to 5 pm. The self-guided tour, put on by the Brooklyn Heights Association, will showcase five homes. Children under 13 will not be allowed in the houses, except for infants in front packs, and photographs are prohibited. Tickets are $80 and can be purchased here.

The 2015 Park Slope House Tour takes place on Sunday, May 17 from noon to 5:30 pm. Shuttle buses will pick up and drop off at various sites throughout the neighborhood to help people reach all of the homes.

Houses on the tour include two homes designed by architect Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert, and an 1875 Neo Grec and many more. (The photo above and the first photo after the jump show two houses on the tour.) After the tour, at 6 pm, local architect-historian Francis Morrone will give a talk titled, “Brooklyn Landscapes: From Green-Wood Cemetery to Brooklyn Bridge Park.”


This circa-1900 wood frame with a wraparound porch at 1320 Beverley Road has all the usual period details, including wood work, a working gas fireplace with original mantel, stained glass, original doors, bay windows and vintage style lighting. It’s 3,684 square feet, according to PropertyShark, and part of the second floor is set up as a rental apartment. Yes, the two units share a staircase, but the living spaces are separate.

The mechanicals are in excellent shape and there’s a new roof and new boiler, according to the listing, although some buyers might want to update or restore the kitchen and baths.

It’s located in the Beverly Square West section of Victorian Flatbush, convenient to the shops and restaurants on Cortelyou. It’s in a proposed landmark district, but has not yet been designated. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,895,000?

1320 Beverley Road [Brooklyn Properties] GMAP


This 1907 Craftsman style home at 633 East 19th Street in Midwood Park has several outstanding features you don’t see every day: An intact bathroom with original tile and pedestal sink, an unusual arched red brick wood burning fireplace, and a sleeping porch (also useful as a sun room). And it also has lots of other original detail, including wood work, stained glass, and a tiger oak and mahogany staircase.

There are also bay windows, lots of bathrooms, a deck and big yard, and a two-car garage. The 1970s kitchen could probably use some updating (or restoration). The house is located in the Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park Historic District, according to the listing. How do you like it for $1,625,000?

633 East 19th Street [Corcoran] GMAP

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Fourth Unitarian Church, now Unity East Church Center
Address: 185 East 19th Street
Cross Streets: Corner of Beverley Road
Neighborhood: Ditmas Park
Year Built: 1906
Architectural Style: English Arts and Crafts
Architect: W. Leslie Walker
Other Work by Architect: Unitarian Church, Montclair Women’s Club and suburban mansions in Montclair, N.J.
Landmarked: No

The story: Grosvenor Atterbury an important early 20th century architect, with projects in the city and the wealthy surrounding suburbs. His career stretched from the mid 1890s until the early 1950s. During his most prolific period during the first two decades of the century, his firm was fielding over 1300 projects at a time. They designed entire neighborhoods, such as the Forest Hills Gardens development for philanthropist Mrs. Russell Sage. Atterbury and his firm were also known for their large, lavish suburban homes which were designed for the tony new suburbs becoming popular for the banker and CEO set. They designed homes in Westchester County, Long Island and towns like Montclair, N.J. One of the associates in the firm at this busy time was W. Leslie Walker.

Walker and Atterbury designed several projects together during their association, most of which were in Montclair. Both men also shared an interest in affordable housing, and considered themselves city planners, as well as architects. They worked together on several model towns for the workers in several industries and planned affordable homes that could be built anywhere. Walker lived in Montclair and was asked to design private homes, as well as public buildings. He designed the Montclair Women’s Club, several beautiful suburban mansions, and the Unity Chapel for Montclair’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation. And that’s how this ties into Ditmas Park.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Henry P. Reid House
Address: 1505 Albemarle Road
Cross Streets: Corner Marlborough Road
Neighborhood: Prospect Park South
Year Built: 1904
Architectural Style: Queen Anne with Medieval/Tudor details
Architect: John J. Petit
Other Buildings by Architect: 1510 Albemarle, 1519 Albemarle, 131 Buckingham, and many more in PPS
Landmarked: Yes, part of PPS HD (1979)

The story: This Queen Anne house is one of my favorites in Prospect Park South, a neighborhood with an abundant wealth of large and impressive houses. At over 3700 square feet, this is a lot of house. Part of me would love to have this kind of room, and would love every inch of spacious period goodness that I pray is in there. The other part of me runs screaming at the thought of proper upkeep, heating costs, and trying to keep a behemoth like this clean. It’s probably just as well that my admiration will be from afar. And there is a lot to admire. John J. Petit designed this home to be an anchor for the intersection of Marlborough and Albemarle Roads, one of the more impressive street corners in Dean Alvord’s upper class enclave.


Up for sale in the Beverly Square West section of Victorian Flatbush is this freestanding turn of the century Dutch Colonial-style house. It looks to us like the interiors could use a little polishing up, although the listing says it’s has been “wonderfully maintained.” In addition to five bedrooms and three baths, it also has a big back yard and a garage. There is also a terrace and tons of closets. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,200,000?

245 Westminster Road [Halstead] GMAP


This circa-1900 freestanding shingle house in the Beverly Square East area of Victorian Flatbush seems to have all its original details but will need at least some cosmetic work, going by the photos. There is a huge wraparound porch, several bay windows, leaded glass, mahogany and other exotic woods, a seat with storage built into the stair in the entry, eight bedrooms, an en suite shaving closet, and front and back stairs. There is also a two-car garage. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,495,000?

330 East 18th Street [Corcoran] GMAP