History (n) :

1. the branch of knowledge dealing with past events.

2. a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc. usually written as a chronological account; chronicle.

3.  the aggregate of past events.

Everything has a story, especially when it comes to New York. The sheer number of people, cultures and lifestyles that have passed through or made their beginnings here is astonishing when you really think about it. In America, it really doesn't get more fascinating than New York. The melting pot.

With all my projects I feel it is incredibly important to incorporate as much of the original elements and history as possible in the renovation. Luckily for me,  there is an abundance of information available about the Clinton Hill district and it's rise and fall (and rise again) in popularity. 

FUN FACT: “The families who were venturesome enough to settle this neighborhood in 1847 when the church was founded were regarded as having banished themselves beyond the reach of civilization.” Parish Record, Dec. 1897

Here's some basics from the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

"The history and development pattern of Clinton Hill is unique in Brooklyn. The neighborhood began as a suburban retreat on the outskirts of the city of Brooklyn, developed as a quiet middle-class residential neighborhood, and at the turn of the century was partially transformed into an area of great wealth. This period of affluence lasted until the 1920s when the wealthy abandoned the area and it again became a middle-class haven. Buildings from all of these periods survive in the historic district and serve as tangible evidence of the area’s development. 
From the inception of residential settlement in the vicinity, the Clinton Hill neighborhood, particularly Clinton and Washington Avenues, was favored by people of wealth and social status. The desirability of Clinton Hill also attracted middle-class residents who purchased the substantial rowhouses built on adjacent streets.  Although the area was almost completely built up by the 1880s, it lost none of its popularity. Instead, it became the favored site for the stylish new mansions that replaced many of the older houses.

The sumptuous new dwellings were built by some of Brooklyn’s wealthiest citizens who transformed the quiet residential neighborhood into Brooklyn’s “Gold Coast.” The seven-block section of Clinton Avenue extending from Myrtle Avenue south to Atlantic Avenue became one of America’s great residential boulevards with houses on the scale of those that once lined the palatial residential streets of other wealthy cities. By the 1920s, as apartment buildings for middle-class residents began to replace the mansions and the very wealthy moved to Manhattan, it became clear that the era of great affluence had ended.

The next few decades were a bit rough for Clinton Hill, as they were for many areas in Brooklyn, New York, and the country as a whole. Manufacturing was down, the docks of Brooklyn took a big hit, and crime rose. The 1970's brought a bit of a revival when a lot of the brownstones were remodeled and the area was cleaned up a little, but it wasn't until the 90's that Brooklyn really began to rise in popularity again. 

Now a days, Clinton Hill is a hub of activity for long term residents and young hip newcomers.

Air BnB says, "When it comes to Brooklyn neighborhoods, Clinton Hill plays crowd favorite. Celebrated for its diversity of people, restaurants, and activities, Clinton Hill caters to Pratt Institute students and ambitious professionals alike. Artsy but not over-the-top and cool but not unapproachable, this laid-back neighborhood deserves its amiable reputation. Add accessibility to Clinton Hill’s affability, and it’s easy to understand why this neighborhood has so many fans."

Photo curtesy of Google Maps street view. 

Photo curtesy of Google Maps street view. 

Personally, I really didn't know much about the neighborhood going in.  After spending time there and meeting our new neighbors, we realized it's a very family-oriented and friendly community.  One thing that we love about the neighborhood is the tons of small restaurants that have amazing food. 

We’re looking forward to getting a chance to explore more once we move there.

Our house in Clinton Hill, circa 1901

Our house in Clinton Hill, circa 1901

Map of Clinton Hill Historic District. Image available via nyc.gov

Map of Clinton Hill Historic District. Image available via nyc.gov