In a neighborhood with historic homes from every period, the few remaining blocks of Middagh Street stand out. Some of Brooklyn’s oldest homes, including rare frame houses, are found there, the living reminders of the days when Robert Fulton’s ferry revolutionized river transportation – and established Brooklyn Heights as a neighborhood accessible to the commerce of Manhattan. Houses dating from just after the ferry’s launch in 1814 still stand, surrounded by homes from the decades following, including a spacious, single-family townhome with a history of its own that has recently come on the market.
The substantial brick home at 23 Middagh Street was listed in the survey of 1834 as belonging to the brothers Henry and Thomas Everit (sometimes spelled Everitt). A Thomas Everitt can be found as early as the 1750s in histories of the time among various Remsens, Doughtys, Boerums, Middaghs, Furmans, Van Nostrands and other recognizable Heights names, as a volunteer firefighter. In the early decades of the 19th century, the settlement’s fire bell – somewhat controversial as many considered it intrusive and unnecessary – moved from the old Remsen house near what is now Old Fulton Street to Middagh Street.
In 1842, the first Catholic church in the Heights and the third in all of Brooklyn was consecrated to the Virgin Mary as Assumption. The church moved from its first location to make way for the Manhattan Bridge, for which the parish received $125,000, used to buy and build on four lots on Cranberry and Middagh Streets. Ground for the present building at 64 Middagh Street was broken in 1908 and was dedicated in August, 1909. Sixty years later, the Sisters of the Poor of Saint Francis took up residence at 23 Middagh Street, where they have lived since.
The 25-foot-wide, 5,500 square-foot house boasts many original period details, including floorboards, moldings and fireplaces. History is on every corner in the Heights, but, on Middagh Street, links to the earliest days of the neighborhood are behind every door.