Monday, November 5, 2018

Footnote to "Time and Again"

Last week, Gossips published a post about 35 South Fifth Street, which shared the discovery that Edmund Denegar was the carpenter and contractor who built the house in 1888 for himself and his family: "Time and Again."

The post prompted David Kermani to share this information about the fortunes of the house in the 1980s, a hundred years after it was built: 
In the mid-1980s, John Ashbery and I, along with Lydia Littlefield, operating as the St. Winifred Alliance, purchased and restored that house because we loved it, and it was in such a dangerous state of disrepair that we were afraid it would be condemned and torn down. (Those were the days when city officials would ask at public meetings if anybody had anything they wanted taken down, "because I've got a bulldozer next Tuesday.") The Preservation Tax Credits were a relatively new thing then, so that is how we justified our seemingly rash activity of restoring to high standards and then running a rental property, which none of us knew anything about.
Making reference to the news item about the house that appeared in the Hudson Evening Register for October 15, 1888, Kermani pointed out that J. K. X. Brennen, who laid "the handsome brown-stone foundation" for 35 South Fifth Street, was the builder and first owner of 39 West Court Street.

Denegar and Brennen, carpenter and mason, seem to have been regular collaborators, and Denegar was very likely involved in the construction of 39 West Court Street as well.

If you're curious to see the interior of 35 South Fifth Street without knocking on the door and hoping someone will invite you in, you're in luck. Thirty years after it was rescued and about twenty years after Ashbery and Kermani sold it, the house is on the market, and the realtor's website provides photographs of the handsome restored and preserved late 19th-century interior. 

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