Carroll Gardens

Come see the fine flora in the Carroll Gardens Historic District

Eye on Real Estate

August 22, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The greenery's dazzling in the Carroll Gardens Historic District. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Who puts the “garden” in Carroll Gardens? Every homeowner in the historic district.

Throughout this hot and humid summer, residents of the Carroll Gardens Historic District’s stunning brownstone blocks have kept their fleurs flourishing. Shrubs and tall trees on their properties add luxuriant foliage to the scenery. Grassy lawns grow here and there.

Thanks to the gardeners’ dedication, the landmarked district’s streetscapes are Instagram-worthy.

Take a look at the photo we took outside 326A President St. facing in the direction of Smith Street. There are flowers in profusion.

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In a photo taken outside 299A Carroll St. facing away from Hoyt Street, brownstones and gardens seem to stretch to infinity.

Fab flowers can be found all over the place. For instance, the gardens at 318 President St. and at 338 President St. are full of late-summer blossoms.

Ivy tumbles over the front wall at 298A Carroll St.


A shout-out to Richard Butts

Those of us who love strolling through brownstone neighborhoods and staring at flowers owe a debt of gratitude to Richard Butts.

He’s a mid-19th-century surveyor who mapped out lots in Carroll Gardens with front yards that are 33.5 feet deep. He’s mentioned in the city Landmarks Preservation Commission’s 1973 designation report about the Carroll Gardens Historic District.

Properties on the President Street and Carroll Street blocks between Smith and Hoyt streets, which constitute the historic district, were also mapped out using Butts’ idea about having deep front yards.

On these blocks, the front yards are 25 to 39 feet deep — providing plenty of room for folks with green thumbs to do their thing.

There are 160-plus buildings in the historic district.

The landmarked rowhouses are mostly brownstones. Some are late Italianate in style. Others are French Neo-Grec.

One of the architectural history experts who presented the case for the Carroll Gardens Historic District to the Landmarks Preservation Commission those many decades ago was Clay Lancaster.

He authored “Old Brooklyn Heights: New York ‘s First Suburb,” an all-important book that helped Brooklyn Heights residents get their neighborhood designated as New York City’s very first historic district.


A shout-out to Charles Carroll

But back to Carroll Gardens.

The Carroll Gardens Historic District’s designation report says house construction in the district started at the end of the 1860s and wrapped up in the early 1880s.

Development was spurred by the creation of Carroll Park, which is on the opposite side of Smith Street from the historic-district blocks.

The builder-developers who constructed the houses in the historic district were William Bedell and other members of his family and John Layton.

Potted plants form a pretty border on a President Street patio.

The park’s name honors Maryland’s signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll.

We mention this since Green-Wood Cemetery and other venerable institutions commemorate the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn every August.

The park’s builders chose Carroll’s name as a reminder of the Maryland 400,  who took a heroic stand at the Old Stone House in Gowanus during the Battle of Brooklyn.

They were appallingly outnumbered but fought to the death. Their self-sacrifice enabled Colonial troops to retreat safely.

 Seen on President Street: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

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