A look at Prospect Park South’s “Japanese House”

The unusual home is one of the finest examples of a short-lived architectural trend

TRD New York /
Jul.July 27, 2014 12:00 PM

 One of the most captivating and unusual turn-of-the-century homes in all of Brooklyn sits on a suburban style lot just south of Prospect Park. Popularly known as the “Japanese house,” legend has it that it was built for the Japanese Ambassador, and that it was shipped over piece by piece from Japan.

While that legend happens to be completely false, it does serve to prove what an impression the Japanese style house left on Flatbush-Ditmas Park locals.

The landmark home was built in 1903 by the American architecture firm Kirby, Petit & Green – the firm that designed “Dreamland” in Coney Island — in hopes of attracting luxury buyers to the then newly developed neighborhood, according to Untapped Cities.

At the time, all things “exotic” were in vogue and every mansion boosted an “oriental room.”

Prospect Park South was developed by Dean Alvord, after he bought 50 acres south of Church Avenue and west of the Brighton Beach rail line in 1899. Alvord intended the new neighborhood to be an upper class suburban enclave, and from the looks of the area today, his project was a success.

Still it initially took some time for the home to sell. The trendy home sat vacant until 1906, when it was bought by Frederick Strange Kolle, a doctor and writer, for $26,000. Since then it has only trade hands once, in 1972, to Gloria and Albert Fischer, who bought the house for $80,000. Today, the home is valued at roughly $1 million. [Untapped Cities]Christopher Cameron

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