2006-09-29

Matthews Park

Our house was built in Matthews Park. Don't look for it on any current maps of Brooklyn. Beverly Square West, the neighborhood where we live, was originally known as Matthews Park from at least 1900, the same year our house was built, to 1902. Two articles from the Brooklyn Eagle document the boundaries of Matthews Park, which exactly coincide with those of what is today called Beverly Square West.

A March 30, 1900 article, Attempt to Rob Bolles' Home, is a report on burglaries in the area:
Mr. Bolles is one of a committee of three of the Matthews Park Association, appointed to visit the Police Board to find out why there are so few policeman in that section. Matthews Park extends from Beverley road to Avenue C, and from Coney Island avenue to Fifteenth street.
A March 5, 1902 article, Sign Posts for Matthews Park, describes the submission of "a design for cast iron sign posts to be placed on all corners of Beverley and Cortelyou Roads, from East Eleventh to East Fifteenth Streets, inclusive." The same article also mentions that "it is intended to adopt on these blocks the same names at present in vogue for the same streets in Prospect Park South," which is today a landmarked Historic District just up the block from us. So the numbered streets - East 11th through 15th Streets - became named Streets: Stratford, Westminster, Argyle, Rugby and Marlborough. Tony sounding, eh? Or, if you prefer, the acronym SWARM.

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4 comments:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

How interesting! Do you know yet why the name was changed from Matthews Park? Or why it was Matthews Park in the first place? I'd be surprised if politics wasn't behind it somehow, but it would be neat to know the story.

Xris said...

It's all marketing. All these names are developers' names for the areas they built up. Beverly Square West was first ascribed just to the eastmost three blocks - the "ARM" of "SWARM." They were developed largely by Thomas Benton Ackerson and his company. They were also responsible for the area called Fiske Terrace, south of us, which is being considered for landmark status.

There's lots more to the story, past and present, which I hope to be blogging soon.

Annie in Austin said...

I love reading about your neighborhood and your one hundred year old house. Our 5 houses were all 'pre-owned', ranging in age from 15 to 35 years old at the time we moved in, but not one historic area in the lot. The second town used similar names for streets - Beverly, Prospect and Argyle - which must signify 'class' to developers everywhere. In the same way, both Austin and Chicago have an area called Hyde Park.

Annie

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'll look forward to the reading the rest of the story, then. :)