Photo credit: Willoughby General (@willoughbygeneral) on Instagram
The Jacob Dangler House, the historic French Gothic mansion that has sat on the corner of Willoughby and Nostrand Avenues in Bed-Stuy for 120 years, was demolished last week. Despite a campaign led by local residents and public officials to landmark the building, the city’s Department of Buildings issued a permit for a full demolition on Tuesday, according to Brownstoner. The developer plans to build apartments on the site, as 6sqft previously reported.
Streetview of the Jacon Dangler House © Google 2022
After local residents, officials, and preservationists lobbied the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the aging mansion, which has served as a community meeting spot for years, the agency voted last month to calendar the Jacob Dangler House. But because the agency did not vote to landmark the building within 40 days, the demolition was able to move ahead.
After mass community pushback against the demolition of the historic Dangler building a.k.a 441 Willoughby and while we are awaiting results from the LPC hearing, yesterday the developer started demolishing the building at a rapid pace. We need community and press here NOW. pic.twitter.com/hmUrxQ3MmB
— Chi Ossé (@OsseChi) July 21, 2022
Reports of demolition beginning at the site surfaced online Thursday, and by Friday, the building was razed, despite efforts by the community to stop work. The city said the demolition permits were obtained legally.
“As the Landmarks Preservation Commission considered this building for potential designation as a landmark, the developer was able to legally obtain demolition permits,” a spokesperson with the mayor’s office told Patch. “We will continue listening to and working with the community to help address any concerns about the future of this site.”
The Jacob Dangler House was built between 1897 and 1902 and designed in a French Gothic architectural style by Theobald Engelhardt for Dangler, a German immigrant who became a successful meats and provisions merchant. In recent years, the house has served as the home for the United Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star (OES), a masonic organization made up of exclusively African American and African Caribbean women.
OES is currently in the process of selling the property to developer Tomer Erlich, who plans to build apartments on the site. During a public earlier this month, the group said it opposed landmarking the building, citing the $2 million in debt the group accumulated during the pandemic.
“Our fear is that if the property is landmarked, no one will want it because they will not be able to do anything with the building,” Celeste Jefferson of OES said during the LPC hearing last week. “The building is already in decay, which will only get worse over time with mold, rat infestations, and become a further eyesore for the neighborhood. The result will almost certainly drive our organization into bankruptcy.”
As 6sqft noted, supporters of landmarking include elected officials like Assembly Member Stefani Zinerman and City Council Member Chi Ossé, groups including the Historic Districts Council and New York Landmarks Conservancy, and even actor Edward Norton.
Neighborhoods : Bed-Stuy