Gravesend

Previous owner pleads: Please landmark Lady Moody’s House

October 8, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Everybody in Brooklyn calls this Lady Moody's House. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Landmark This House. Please.

Vivian Solmo has changed her mind about the historic home her family owned for many years — the famous old Gravesend property that’s known as Lady Moody’s House.

“Now I realize it should have been landmarked a long time ago,” Solmo said at a city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on Thursday about the stone farmhouse at 27 Gravesend Neck Road.

“I didn’t understand the process,” she said.

Solmo opposed the designation of the house as an individual landmark when she was the owner. Owners’ objections to designation carry considerable weight in commissioners’ deliberations.

Solmo sold the house in 2005. The current owner, identified in city Finance Department records as Anita Anderson, did not testify at the agency’s hearing.

Numerous preservationists spoke in support of landmarking for the house, which has been on the LPC’s calendar for designation consideration since 1966.

At the very least, Lady Deborah Moody owned the land on which the 18th-Century (or possibly older) house was built.

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There were tunnels dug underneath for Gravesend’s early Europeans settlers to hide in during the Indian wars of the 1600s, it was revealed at the hearing.

Lady Moody’s House was one of seven Brooklyn historic properties that were discussed at Thursday’s hearing at the LPC’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

They are on the “Backlog95” list of 95 properties in New York City that have been calendared for many years without a decision from the LPC. Thursday’s hearing was the first step in an intensive process to clear up the backlog. SEE RELATED STORIES.

Joseph Ditta, an author, drew a laugh from the crowd in the hearing room when he held up his book “Then & Now: Gravesend, Brooklyn” and wryly called it a “blockbuster.”

He asked commissioners not to be put off by the fake siding and other alterations to Lady Moody’s House.

“Don’t let its current appearance deter you,” he said. “You have designated other equally un-photogenic buildings.”

The house is for sale, and there’s no telling what the next owner might have in mind for the property.

“Without your protection, it is doomed,” he said.

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