Historic Structures

Dr. James Tillary House, Brooklyn New York

Date added: April 1, 2010 Categories: New York House

The City of New York bought the house and demolished it in 1935-36 for the purpose of opening the area for the Brooklyn Bridge plaza approach.

The house was originally located on ground owned by a Mary Duff, who sold the land to Dr. James Tillary and his wife, Brigetta, on the 26th of March, 1813. No mention of a building of any kind is made in the deed recorded in the Brooklyn Hal of Records, Record of Conveyances, Liber 10, Page 502.

Shortly after the execution of this conveyance a two story house was built upon the property by Dr. James Tillary, who owned the property for years. In more recent years a family by the name of Cutting owned the building; the house was often called "The Cutting House." In the 1930s, as previously stated, the property was purchased by the City of New York for the purpose of extending the Brooklyn Bridge plaza.

The house is now demolished but parts of it were preserved for educational purposes. The hall archway with two columns, two mantels, a section of the ceiling, one dozen bricks from the front, half of the main cornice, the interior trim, callings, stair rails, newel posts, and shutters are in the Brooklyn Industrial High School, Jay and Nassau Streets, Brooklyn, New York. In the Brooklyn Technical High School, DeKalb Avenue and Fort Greene Place, Brooklyn, can be found the main entrance, two dormer windows, half of a cornice, the main flight of stairs, and the wrought iron handrails. Several details have been placed in the Department of Architecture, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

The building, though modest, illustrates a very fine type of an attached, private, city dwelling of the early nineteenth century. The style is interesting and exhibits many forms and details common to this period and found in Brooklyn, Washington Square (New York City, and parts of Long Island- especially in and around Hempstead.

In studying the building, there was a theory advanced but not proven by observation or data, that the main part with the interesting gambrel roof was built prior to 1813 and the front and much interior detail added in the alterations of 1816. The whole house, especially the ornament, exhibits unusual quality. All ornamental detail, dormer caps, main cornice, front door detail, hall archway, and interior door trim is hand carved white pine wood, exhibiting superior skill and workmanship not shown on modern buildings of similar character.