June 13, 2005

24 Middagh

Brownstoner is running a series on Brooklyn Heights this week. They start with 24 Middegah which according to The Brooklyn Historical Society is the oldest standing building in the neighborhood. While most books say this house was built in 1824, the caption this picture from 1922 says "This place was used as a chop-house in 1815. It became a residence in 1836" which would imply it was older still:

As noted by the Brownstoner, the other house of interest on Middagh was #7. Back in the 40's W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee all lived there together for one alcohol tinged year of bohemian living that proved inspirational for several books, musical compositions, et-cetera amongst them. The story of the year is told in the book February House (there were lots of February birthdays). #7 was torn down to make way for the BQE.

The name Middagh came from the Middagh farm. This document (originally from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1896), a treasure trove of information about the area circa 1800, notes:

"The First ward was occupied by the HICKS and MIDDAGH farms, the land being
about equa11y divided between the two families. The boundaries were Fulton street,
the East river and Clark street.. The dividing line was midway between Hicks and
Henry streets. HICKS having all the west and MIDDAGH having all the east section.
Soutb or the Middagh farm were the small WARING, KIMBERLEY and Samuel JACKSON

Another o1d time land owner was the famous Dr. SWEETCOPE, a Hessian who had
served in the British army during the revolution and remained here after the close
of the War. He had an office at the corner of Fulton and Clinto streets and his
property lay along Love lane, which then ran from Fulton street to the river."

The document goes to talk about a fight between Mr. Joralemon, a harness and saddle maker, and Charles Hoyt a real estate speculator. Joralemon opposed the creation of Clinton street named after a politician who spearheaded the Erie Canal project. I will now never cross the intersection Joralemon and Clinton without a chuckle. Damn that Mr. Hoyt.

posted at 12:17 PM by raul

Filed under: east coast


06/14/05 12:46 PM

how in the world do you find all this information?


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