Brooklyn Structure: A mansard carriage home allure
The still-preserved carriage houses of Brooklyn Heights lure passers-by with the charm of their tiny size and arouse the desire to imagine living in them. In the neighborhood’s Willow Town neighborhood, there’s a lovely example at 21 Willow Place.
Like most of Brooklyn’s remaining carriage houses, 21 Willow Place was built in the mid-19th century and converted for car traffic in the early 20th century. While the exact construction date is unknown, it was completed in 1878. An auction advertisement for the stable earlier this year describes it as a two-story brick stable with four stalls, a cowshed and an “expanded” second floor.
A look at the history of architecture leads to some interesting tangents – in this case a classified ad from the 1870s showed that a stray “carriage bitch” had appeared on the property. A carriage slut was a carriage dog: she could travel long distances, be comfortable with horses, and provide security for travelers.
While Dalmatians were often used as carriage dogs in the 19th century, there is no description of the dog found on the property, only an offer to return them if the “owner can prove ownership”.
In 1917, the Chauncey Real Estate Company appealed a zoning order to allow the stable to be converted into a garage in the mostly residential area, and in the same year the building was classified as a garage in a new certificate of use. If you wanted to house your car, storage at 21 Willow Place would have cost $ 10 a month in 1917.
The two-story brick carriage house is now a single-family home. The openings on the first floor are simply decorated with sandstone lintels, but the whole is charmingly crowned by a slate-covered mansard roof.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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