Gravesend

Lady Moody’s House becomes a city landmark

April 12, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Preservationists are rejoicing — Lady Moody's House is now a city landmark. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Do you hear the cheering down in Gravesend?

The neighborhood’s most famous house was designated as a city landmark on Tuesday — after a wait of a half-century.

The early 18th-Century Dutch-American farmhouse popularly known as Lady Moody’s House finally received official recognition from the city as a historic site. The thumbs-up came in the form of a unanimous designation vote by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

The vote was held at a public meeting at the preservation agency’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

The house in question, at 27 Gravesend Neck Road, was built on land that belonged to Lady Deborah Moody.

Lady Moody, an English baronet’s widow, was an Anabaptist who arrived in New Netherland in 1643. The Dutch granted her freedom to practice her religion.

She was the first woman to establish a colony in North America.

It took commissioners just four minutes to discuss the house and make their vote. They had heard extensive testimony last fall supporting the landmarking of the unique home.

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Prior to their vote, LPC staffer Gale Harris said that the house’s current owner had recently sent a letter opposing the designation because the building had been altered.

Commissioner Michael Devonshire said the property should be landmarked anyway, calling it a “patrimony” that should be passed on to the next generation.

“Non-designation could lead to the loss of this resource,” he said.

According to city Finance Department records, Lady Moody’s House belongs to Anita Anderson, who purchased it with her husband Justin Anderson for $610,000 in 2005.

The house had been on the sale market — but is now no longer available, according to StreetEasy.com and Zillow.com.

The house named for Lady Moody was expanded in the mid-18th Century and altered in 1905. An engineers’ evaluation found evidence of structural material possibly dating from the 17th Century.  

The designation of Lady Moody’s House is a victory for preservation advocates, especially Joseph Ditta, an author about Gravesend’s history who had campaigned to muster support among his fellow Gravesend residents for landmarking it.

The house had been placed on the LPC’s calendar for landmarking consideration in 1966 — before Ditta was born.

After the designation vote, LPC staffer Harris publicly thanked Ditta for the help he had given the preservation agency.

Lady Moody’s House was one of numerous candidates for individual landmark status that the LPC voted upon Tuesday that came from a list known as Backlog95.

These sites, located throughout the five boroughs, had lingered on the commission’s calendar for consideration as landmarks for many years without being voted upon. The agency has been working since last year to deal with the properties on the list.

Lady Moody’s House was one of six Brooklyn properties that made the cut during a round of decision-making in February and remained in consideration for landmarking.

One Brooklyn property, Irwin Chanin’s Art Moderne-style Coney Island Pumping Station, was removed from the LPC’s calendar in February.

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