Friday, September 2, 2011

A Bit of Philip Livingston's Garden Wall Still Exists In Brooklyn Heights

We were walking by this house at the corner of State Street and Garden Place yesterday, when we noticed a plaque hanging up on the wall.

It said that Garden Place was originally a walk in the formal gardens behind the mansion of Philip Livingston, delegate from New York and signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Here is a sketch of the mansion, drawn by Mr. Henry Pierrepont, courtesy of the Digital Gallery of the New York Public Library. The estate comprised 40 prime Brooklyn Heights acres overlooking the East River. (It was destroyed by fire in 1811 or 1841, depending on the source.)

According to the plaque, the original retaining wall between the garden and the terraced orchard of the Livingston estate still exists behind numbers 29 - 41.

We were curious to see if the retaining wall could be seen using Google Maps. We found numbers 29 - 41 Garden Place and saw there is a wall visible in the back yards of these buildings.

Here's a section of the 1766 Village of Brooklyn map. We circled the retaining wall of the terraced orchard, above. George Washington no doubt strolled through this garden.

Here you can compare the Google map of Brooklyn Heights today with the 1766 map of Brooklyn Heights, below. The dotted red line shows Fulton Street now and then (part of Fulton has been renamed Cadman Plaza West today but the road is still there). The red circle shows the position of Livingston Mansion

Also see: A History of Garden Place  Brooklyn Eagle

Top two photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

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