The lost Seaman's Mansion in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History

We love a good lost building here at Untapped New York. In the past, we’ve covered lost department stores, lost amusement parks, and lost structures of the World’s Fair. After recently covering the lost mansions of New York’s Hudson Valley, we’re diving into the archives to recover the lost mansions of all five boroughs, starting with the lost mansions of Brooklyn. While many of these forgotten homes were demolished nearly a hundred years ago, some of these extravagant single-family homes lasted well into the 20th and 21st centuries. There are still gorgeous mansions that you can see throughout the borough today, but here, we explore those that have been lost to time, from a pre-Revolution party house to a controversial failed landmark:

1. Prentice Mansion, Brooklyn Heights

The lost Prentice mansion in Brooklyn
From Brooklyn Public Libary, Center for Brooklyn History

The Prentice mansion was originally built by merchant Charles Hoyt in 1835 on farmland bordered by today’s Remsen, Joralemon, and Hicks Streets and the East River to the west. John Hill Prentice, a fur merchant, purchased the Brooklyn Heights property in 1840 and moved in with his wife and their 18 children. Prentice had the mansion moved to 1 Grace Court from its original location along Remsen Street. He also added an additional story to the large wooden house. On three expansive terraces that cascaded down from the front of the house, there were various fruit trees including pear, apricot, peach, fig, and nectarine. John’s Prentice Stores warehouses and docks were not far from the grand home.

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One of the most elaborate features of the mansion was a fountain circle which John, who served as president of the Water Board, had installed to celebrate the introduction of water to Brooklyn from Nassau Water Works. Prentice also served as one of Brooklyn’s first parks commissioners. After Prentice died in 1881, the mansion was occupied by his younger brother James. By 1904, the mansion was in disrepair. It was torn down in 1909 and replaced by a six-story apartment building in 1925. This apartment building is what you’ll find at the site today.