Saturday, March 24, 2007
This excerpt from The NY times
Q. While walking around Downtown Brooklyn I came across four houses on Duffield Street that looked as if they might have historical significance. Do they?
A. You must be talking about 182-188 Duffield Street, city landmarks between Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Street. They do have historical value, as remnants of a neighborhood that no longer exists.
In 19th-century Brooklyn, you could witness the range of wealth in the city by walking from the brick houses of tony Brooklyn Heights to the working-class neighborhoods around the Navy Yard. You might have passed through what was then Brooklyn's leading middle-class neighborhood.
The area was farmed by the Duffield and Johnson families until the 1830's, when it was divided into lots for residential development. Not long after, the area was lined with modest two-story Greek Revival houses, four of which survive.
The houses were originally located around the corner on Johnson Street (now Tech Place) between Bridge and Lawrence Streets. Three were built in 1838 and 1839 by the Rev. Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, who inherited part of his grandfather's farm. No. 184 was built in 1847 by a merchant, Francis Chichester. During the 19th and early 20th centuries these houses were inhabited by the likes of merchants, engineers and shipmasters.
In 1990 developers agreed to move the houses so that they would not be destroyed during construction of the MetroTech center. Steel beams were placed under each house and they were hoisted onto a flatbed truck that delivered them to their new location on Duffield Street.