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japanese house prospect park south brooklyn new york city untapped cities museum of the city of new yorkA Postcard of the Japanese house ca. 1915. The house has since been re-painted red-orange with teal beams. Image via Museum of the City of New York, via Old Images of New York

Urban legend tells that this Japanese house was built special for the Japanese Ambassador, and it was shipped over piece by piece from Japan. Neither of those stories are true. What is true, however, is that somebody actually lives in this Japanese style house south of Prospect Park in Flatbush-Ditmas Park. It was built in 1903, and currently, the house has landmark status and it is valued at over $1 million.

According to the New York Times, this Brooklyn Japanese house was built by the American architecture firm Kirby, Petit & Green as a way to attract a luxury clientele to this newly developed neighborhood. Appreciation of Japanese art was in vogue in the late 19th century, when you couldn’t be caught dead without an “oriental room” in your mansion.

If Kirby, Petit & Green sounded familiar to you, that’s because they also constructed “Dreamland” in Coney Island.

According to Brownstoner, Prospect Park South was developed by Dean Alvord, a real estate operator. In 1899, he bought 50 acres of land near the park south of Church avenue and west of the Brighton Beach rail line. He intended it to be an upper class suburban enclave, so although the neighborhood experienced a fair share of tumult through the 20th century, I think we could all agree that Mr. Alvord would be quite happy with the neighborhood now.

Despite its trendy architecture, the Brooklyn Japanese house was not sold until 1906 when it was bought by Frederick Strange Kolle, a doctor and writer, for $26,000. Then, in 1972, Gloria and Albert Fischer bought the house for $80,000.

The Fischers have furnished the Brooklyn Japanese house with works from Belter to Bauhaus, as well as keepsakes from the Kolle family.Gloria Fischer, now 78, still inhabits the home. Fischer has been gracious to allow tours of her home, but the last tour was given in June of 2013.  Since there are no upcoming tours as of yet, you should be sure to check out this photo gallery of the interior by Curbed NY!

For more on Japanese finds in New York City, check out this spa in which you could be soaked in Sake, and this Japanese Artisanal village which popped up in Lincoln Center.

Get in touch with the author @Arentyousokool

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