The rate of progress in mid-century Brooklyn was so inexorable, so relentless, that artists started chronicling old Brooklyn as early as the 1840s. If the writing wasn’t already on the wall for the Fort Greene neighborhood as the city spilled ever south and east, the establishment of Fort Greene Park (then Washington Park) in 1846 insured both the influx of real estate development and the eventual extinction of rural Brooklyn.
In the midst of a career that would come to define the American picturesque, Nathaniel Currier produced this “crayon study” of a dwelling on Fulton Street (then Avenue) in Fort Greene. Note the garb of the would-be the resident. Is this the Parson’s house?
A little closer to town, on the north side of DeKalb at Fulton, John Vandergaw’s coaches and carriages establishment was photographed in the 1850s. Vandergaw would flourish in the area for decades, eventually taking on automobile sales and service. In the background is Fleet Street Methodist Episcopal Church, at the corner of Fleet and Lafayette streets, established in 1850. The building to the right of the church is an oilcloth manufactory.
✮ ✮ ✮