227 Duffield Street; Map data © 2020 Google
The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted to calendar a property in Downtown Brooklyn that was home to abolitionists in a move that could potentially save the historic home from demolition. Harriet and Thomas Truesdell, known members of the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War, lived at the Greek-Revival row house at 227 Duffield Street from 1851 to 1863. Last year, preservationists and local officials called on the LPC to designate the building after a developer filed permits to raze the three-story structure and replace it with a much taller mixed-use building.
Image via Google Maps
Update 8/19/19: The owner of 227 Duffield Street told Gothamist on Friday that he will build an African American museum in the basement of the property which has ties to the abolitionist movement. Samiel Hanasab, who applied for a demolition permit earlier this summer, told the website: “I have a high respect for African Americans. This project will be in the basement.” The developer did not provide any additional details for the museum.
Despite a series of last-minute preservation attempts after demolition plans for 227 Duffield Street were filed with the city’s Department of Buildings in June, the 19th-century Downtown Brooklyn house with abolitionist ties remains endangered. Gothamist reported that the owner, Samiel Hansab, has filed an application with the Department of Buildings to erect a 13-story mixed-use building in its place. The application is still under review and no permits have been issued, but as Gothamist noted, the best chance of saving the building would be an intervention by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Image via Google Maps
Just across the street from Willoughby Park, where the city is planning a memorial to commemorate the abolitionist history of Downtown Brooklyn, the townhouse at 227 Duffield Place—once the home of prominent abolitionists Thomas and Harriet Truesdell and believed to be a stop on the Underground Railroad—is facing an uncertain future. As Brownstoner reported, demolition plans were filed with the city’s Department of Buildings on June 5 and an eviction notice has been posted at the site.