After Landmarking Effort, City Buys Brooklyn House With Ties To Underground Railroad

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Town has paid $3.2 million to amass a Brooklyn home linked to the abolitionist motion, in a becoming plot twist that caps a virtually two decade-long battle centered on the preservation of Black historical past in New York Metropolis.

The three-story home at 227 Duffield Road was as soon as owned by Harriet and Thomas Truesdell, two outstanding nineteenth century abolitionists. Through the years, specialists have made the case that 227 Duffield served as a cease for the Underground Railroad.

Brooklyn Paper first reported the sale final week. Throughout a press convention on Monday, First Girl Chirlane McCray introduced the town’s buy.

“We stated it was time for all of us to find out about and perceive the total historical past of the Underground Railroad and people who fought in opposition to the establishment of slavery in New York Metropolis,” she stated. “The acquisition of 227 Duffield Road is a primary step towards making that occur.”

Town’s Landmark Fee awarded 227 Duffield landmark standing in February, following an intense marketing campaign by preservationists.

New York Metropolis has landmarked 17 websites associated to abolitionism and the Underground Railroad out of a complete of greater than 37,000 metropolis properties which were given landmark safety.

READ MORE: Lawmakers Push For Landmarking Potential Underground Railroad Web site On Riverside Drive

As Downtown Brooklyn underwent a metamorphosis spurred by rezoning, the constructing confronted a number of redevelopment pressures. The primary risk got here from the town itself. Round 2004, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration sought to grab the property by means of eminent area to make approach for a brand new park. After a years-long combat with activists and the then-owner, Pleasure Chatel, metropolis officers lastly backed off in 2007.

Chatel ultimately died, ensuing within the sale of the home. In the summertime of 2019, Samiel Hanasab, a developer utilized for a demolition allow. He submitted plans to construct a 13-story mixed-use constructing with 21 residential items, however informed Gothamist that he would open an African American museum within the basement.

Hasanab had opposed the landmarking of the constructing, which might have many any demolition or renovation topic to the approval of the town’s Landmarks Fee.

READ MORE: A Historic Brooklyn Home With Ties To Underground Railroad Faces Demolition

Garfield Heslop, an lawyer for Hasanab, informed Brooklyn Paper, “After a lot wrangling and consideration and contemplating that the worth of the property routinely plummeted after landmarking, we had no selection however to promote the property.”

Raul Rothblatt, an activist and member of Save 227 Duffield, had initially lobbied the Landmarks Fee to guard the home way back to 2007.

He known as the town’s buy and preservation of the house “an unbelievable aid.” Going ahead, he stated his group was now planning to work with the town on plans to show 227 Duffield right into a cultural establishment.

“I’m not performed,” Rothblatt stated, including that the Truesdell home was in reality half of a bigger community of properties owned by abolitionists. “This is a vital a part of American historical past.”



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