Crown Heights

See the marvelous Crown Heights mansion the Parfitt Brothers designed

Eye on Real Estate: Plus other Brooklyn architects' nifty 19th-century house designs

September 20, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The John and Elizabeth Truslow House, designed by the Parfitt Brothers, is a fine piece of Crown Heights North Historic District architectural eye candy. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Three cheers for the Parfitt Brothers, a trio of British-born architects who designed some of late 19th-century Brooklyn’s most eye-catching houses.

A marvelous mansion they designed graces the corner of Brooklyn Avenue and Dean Street.

It’s the John and Elizabeth Truslow House, which was designated as an individual city landmark in 1997.

The freestanding Queen Anne-style house at 96 Brooklyn Ave. was constructed in 1887 and 1888, after prominent Brooklynite John Truslow retired from his position as president of the Brooklyn Board of Assessors.

The red-brick house with an eye-catching array of gables and metal-clad towers suffered a long spell of trouble in the past two decades.

But in recent years, the John and Elizabeth Truslow House was renovated and turned into an affordable-housing building, with tenants for its unoccupied apartments chosen by lottery.

The developer was NIA JV LLC, which is controlled by Larry Hirschfield’s ELH Management, city Finance Department records indicate.

A previous owner had lost the property because of a so-called 2002 “in rem” foreclosure judgment for delinquent taxes, Finance Department records show.


News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Development sparked by the Fulton Street elevated railway

Northwestern Crown Heights was largely developed between 1888 and 1893, after the construction of an elevated railway on Fulton Street brought mass transit to the area.

Numerous important late-19th century Brooklyn architects designed the neighborhood’s rowhouses, standalone homes and apartment buildings. There’s so much for preservation-minded visitors to see.

One way to decide on routes for picturesque Crown Heights walks is to use the maps of its landmarked areas.

The Crown Heights North Historic District was the first portion of the neighborhood to win the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation. That was back in 2007.

The John and Elizabeth Truslow House is located in this district. It includes several blocks of Brooklyn Avenue, a stretch of Dean Street between Bedford and Kingston avenues and sections of Pacific and Bergen streets, St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place.  

The other day, we strolled around this historic district and looked at the lovely homes.

Splendid strolls can also be taken in the Crown Heights North II Historic District, which gained landmark status in 2011, and in the Crown Heights North III Historic District, which was designated in 2015.

Montrose Morris and Helmle, Huberty & Hudswell, too

So. Here’s a sampling of the superb architects whose designs can be seen in the original Crown Heights North Historic District.

* Montrose Morris, one of the most revered Brooklyn architects of the late 19th century, designed a number of the district’s residential properties. One of our favorites is the Imperial Apartments at 1327-1339 Bedford Ave., constructed in 1892.

Christopher Gray, who wrote the much-loved New York Times column “Streetscapes,” described the French Renaissance Revival apartment building in a 2007 story by saying it has “triple outsize turrets and pointed roofs like the three musketeers backed into a corner, swords flailing.”

* Montrose Morris also designed two Romanesque Revival rowhouses at 855-857 St. Marks Ave. that were built around 1892. One of them has a terrific turret.

BTW, the landmarked blocks of St. Marks Avenue are really something. Development is planned on the lawn of a house there that’s known as the Dean Sage Residence. See related story.

* One of our favorite rowhouses that important late 19th-century architect George Chappell designed is at 1123 Dean St. on the corner of Bedford Avenue.

* September roses are blooming in the garden at 1265 Dean St. on the corner of New York Avenue. It’s part of a five-building row of Romanesque Revival houses designed by Albert E. White.

* J.C. Cady designed a fab freestanding Renaissance Revival house at 1290 Pacific St., which was built around 1890. He was the architect of the West 77th Street side of the American Museum of Natural History.

* One of several superb Crown Heights North Historic District rowhouses Amzi Hill designed is at 1435 Pacific St. on the corner of Brooklyn Avenue.

* The distinguished architectural firm Helmle, Huberty & Hudswell, which opened in 1902, designed a nifty house at 128 Kingston Ave. that year. Part of its facade is curved and part isn’t.



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