Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A House for a Dollar

From a Brooklynite who prefers to remain anonymous comes this story of her family's house in Victorian Flatbush. Thank you!

" mom's two great aunts bought the house together when it was built in 1909. My family was fairly well-to-do back then, but they lost their money in the Depression. My grandfather was going to lose the house to taxes. He made a deal with a friend of his, a wealthy lady from out West. She bought the house for a dollar (and of course had to pay off the taxes), with the stipulation that she would leave the house to my mother in her will. Thankfully she was an honest person, and she did just that, so the house is now back in the family. Between the early 40's when this deal took place, and the time of her death in the late 70s, she turned the house into a boarding house. Sailors, soldiers, merchant marines, businessmen, and even a few businesswomen (including my mother when she was in her early 20s) rented rooms there. It was run very strictly; no visitors allowed upstairs, and doors had to be left unlocked during the day so the homeowner could come in and clean up/make the beds. She also made breakfast for the roomers. When she died in the 70s, my mom moved in with her family."


Brenda from Flatbush said...

So many of these big old places were boarding houses. Ours served as home for teachers in a small private school, and then for a houseful of Chinese immigrants, before we bought it and began trying to undo decades of hard use and half-baked adaptations. If the economy gets bad enough, we can always take in boarders again! (gulp)

amarilla said...

Sounds good. Save a room for us.