A Very Creepy House in Brooklyn

Scouting NY is having a Halloween contest in which you submit a picture of your favorite local eerie property and win tickets to NY’s infamous Nightmare Haunted House! This is what my submission would be…

This is what I imagine it looks like when a house possessed by evil opens one eye to stare at you:

Haunted House (29)

This and dozens of other creepy windows can be found on what I consider to be the spookiest house in Brooklyn, 1305 Albemarle Road:

Haunted House (2)

1305 Albemarle was once of the most beautiful homes among the many gorgeous offerings in Ditmas Park.

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However, for many years, 1305 has been allowed to fall into a tragic state of disrepair by its current owners:

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Wood is rotting, and flaking paint can be found everywhere:

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The balcony on the west side is in equally bad state…

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…and I swear, every time I drive by, I expect it to have finally collapsed:

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Meanwhile, the drooping colonnade seems on the verge of tumbling through its four support columns onto the porch below:

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And then, there are the windows. I’m quite confident that Charles Addams himself couldn’t come up with a creepier third story window, and I envy the local kids, whose imaginations can run wild with what lurks on the other side.

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Dilapidated and sinister, 1305 Albemarle has an unbelievable number of window designs, and almost feels like a showcase for a window company:

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These rounded bay windows appear on both the first and second floor…

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…and man do I love that spiderweb design in the center:

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1305 Albermale was built in 1905 by architect HB Moore for one G. Gale. It’s one of my favorite homes in New York City, but every time I pass by, it’s in noticeably worse shape than the last time I saw it.

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Ask any of the neighbors about the home owners and they’ll just sigh and shake their heads. Everyone in the neighborhood loves this house, and is sorry to see it die a slow death. Someone mentioned that it was on the market a few years ago for $4 million, then removed. Check out these two beautiful windows:

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Another fascinating window on the opposite side of the porch:

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A circular window above the colonnade:

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The side of the house is equally imposing…

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The wide chimney running up its height almost feels like it’s holding the structure up…

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I especially love this rounded projection of windows (term, anyone?)…

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…with its ornamental copper roof – doesn’t get much more haunted house than this!

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Ditto goes to the two quarter-circle windows abutting the third floor chimney:

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And hidden behind a bush, two more windows – wonder what that small square window was for?

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The house continues much farther back than you’d expect:

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A dozen different variations in windows on the upper porch:

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The back of the house…

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And finally, those eyebrow windows…

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Never forget: 1305 is watching you.

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Have a favorite spooky locale of your own? Doesn’t have to be in New York! Enter the Scouting NY Halloween contest today!

-SCOUT

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32 comments

  1. So, is the house being lived in? What a shame that it’s in such disrepair, it’s such an awesome looking building!

  2. The architectural term for that window is “oriel.”

  3. I agree with Bill on the term, although I usually assoziate a rather angled shape with an oriel (part of an octagon for instance). The house is beautiful and it’s a pity that it’s left to rot. There is a point – I suppose in the very near future – when the whole structure will be beyond repair…

  4. That’s a shame, this house is so wonderful and it’s part of NY history!
    Isn’t there any association of art that could take care of it?

    People shouldn’t let die this house.

  5. Bruce Rubenstein

    This area is actually known as Prospect Park South. There is a 1907 aerial view of the area in the Library of Congress: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/pan/6a34000/6a34500/6a34538r.jpg

    Look at the south side of Albemarle Rd., just before it ends at the BMT subway tracks. There is a much larger home than all the others. It was the “The Alvord Mansion at 1522 Albemarle Road was built by Alvord for his family. Later, it was purchased by Israel Matz, founder of the Ex-lax Company. The Alvord Mansion burned down in approximately 1955 under mysterious conditions after its sale by the Matz family to apartment developers fell through in the face of community opposition” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospect_Park_South,_Brooklyn).

    I used to play there (early 60′s) and it’s still an empty lot.

  6. gorgeous. sad.
    window configuration: Bow Window, Aka Curved Bay Window, Oriel Bow…

  7. I love this house…I pass it while driving in the neighborhood. Always wondered what it looks like on the inside/

    • My grandparents live there… the inside is monumental.

      • Wow really!? I went to the tag sale, but saddly nothing there gave any clue to the interior. The lady seemed sweet and nice, so I’m assuming the inside is in good order. I’m sure fixing up the outside is just too hard / expensive.

        • Yup! My family isn’t terribly close with them, but it’s always exciting to go visit. To be honest, I have no idea what/if they plan to do anything to the outside. The inside is constantly being redone because movies and tv shows love to shoot there. Pretty neat!

  8. The owners can afford some very expensive looking aircon but not a few tins of paint?

  9. The home is a beautiful work of art! What a pity it is in such a state. I imagine, however, the INSIDE is what is most scary!

  10. I’ve owned a beautiful old house before, and it can be very pricey to maintain and restore. I see this house as in the process of renovation. The owners took care of the roof first, which is a priority. That looks like a costly new roof, and it was nicely done. The fact that the owners have wreathes on the front doors, as well as planters with shrubs, tells me they care. Try to see what HAS been done.

  11. Thanks for a great post, as always. Love these mansions on Albermarle Road! Looks like a renovation will cost a fortune.

  12. How high up is that small square window? Could be an opening for ice delivery.

  13. Very Cool. Would love to explore this house. Reminds me of the Windchester House in San Francisco with all the different windows.

  14. I lived next door to a house in uptown New Orleans that was of a similar vintage, smaller, but really impressive. The owners had let it get beyond this to the point where the wood was silvering and in some Cases warping. I thought it was a shame until I kicked a soccer ball over the fence one day and atop the brick fence had a view of the interior. It was utterly immaculate brand new everything. It was the ultimate sort of false front. The only reason I can think of is that uptown used to be really high crime so they were thinking if it looked derelict people wouldn’t think there was anything to steal. Second only the the stone home in Laramie Wyoming that high school friend and I visited one night with flashlights. Unoccupied, but every piece of furniture was upside down nailed (?) to the ceiling. Beds chairs, lamps, rugs. All Victorian. Very creepy shining flashlights up through windows and seeing that.
    Love your blog.

  15. The creepiest place I’ve seen is an abandoned hospital for tuberculosis patients, not far from where I live. The old building was rotting away, and it is really creepy (kinda reminds me of Danvers Mental Hospital). Luckily, some Spanish cinema production company bought the whole place and now they’re using it as a real set for horror movies.
    The same could be done with all those beautiful, abandoned houses…

  16. That is some house, all right. Sad to see the exterior in need of so much work.

    Interesting that you think of this house as creepy, possessed and scary. Those quarter round windows made me immediately think of the Amityville Horror house.

    http://www.amityvillehorror.com/gallery/amityvillehorrorhouse.jpg

  17. yes! This house is on my block and it is so creepy!!

  18. I spent a week reading your whole blog! I just love it. Thanks for all your hard work. It’s made me want to buy a camera and revisit my love of photography. It’s also made me wake up and start looking around me.

  19. A gorgeous building like this should be made to be taken care of.

  20. Love your blog! Thank you – This is such a gorgeous house!

  21. I imagine they’re doing the best they can for the house. Maintenance for a house like that would not be cheap. The house itself looks structurally sound, and the roof looks brand new (the most important bit). With an old house like that with the peeling paint that is sure to contain lead, painting and toxic material disposal could run into the hundreds of thousands (my own, tiny cottage with peeling lead paint could cost me most of 10 grand in a much cheaper part of the country).

    Not too many homeowners have that kind of cash kicking around!

  22. Vincent Price owned either this house or the one next store that is all brick and is now used as a mosque. In the basement of his home was a bowling alley.

    That much I know. My parents own a house in the area for the past 48 years. I lived there for much of my life.

  23. Unfortunately, there are homes like these all over the country. I attribute it to Mommy & Daddy Government. Very few can afford to build, own, or as we see above, maintain beautiful homes. In Tacoma, the property taxes are so high (read lease your home in perpetuity from the government) that there is no incentive to own a nice home. Owners are heavily penalized. “Hope” we can “Change” this soon in America.

  24. I lived here for the first 3 years of my life with my parents and grandparents. My grandparents lived here for 45 years. My grandfather bought it from the Gale estate in the late 1920′s. My grandmother, Lucia, died here at the young age of 40 when my Dad was only 12. My grandfather remarried and raised my father and two siblings here. When I was growing up on Long Island, we used to visit my grandparents every Sunday for roast dinner. I have very fond memories of the magnificent foyer and main staircase, the spooky top floor ballroom and the secret back staircase. My sisters and I played hide and seek for hours. They used to keep the place impeccably, but eventually sold and moved after the house was robbed several times. It was not a great neighborhood in the late 70s, but has really come back. Since then, the house has changed hands several times and I have seen it fall into such disrepair. It brings a great sense of melancholy, but also good memories.

  25. I clicked on this and loved the pictures, then realized this in Ditmas park. I pass this house on my run every morning. It really is beautiful.

  26. Yes, I have seen the inside and it is beautiful! The creepiness is mostly from needing new paint. Owner says structure is sound except he wants to rebuild the porches. He wants to fix it up but he has a home and a ranch in the South, and there are a few things that stand in the way of doing justice to the outside.

    Scout, what kind of movie do you want to make? Maybe I can help. Contact me via email.

  27. Its a great house!

  28. You are correct this house is a work of art. It is one of my favorite homes in the “Prospect Park South” community. I saw it about a month ago and I was amazed at the condition. This home has a ball room inside of it…growing up I always wanted to see it in person and it is sad to see the condition. The house accross the street has undergone major renovations maybe the same will be done to restore this beauty….classic properties live!

  29. Wow! Such a magnificent home to let decay to such extent. I’d imagine that complete restoration would cost a fortune. Does the house have a name by which it is referred (other than just a street name and house number)? I’d imagine the high property taxes probably diminishes any desire to keep the place up.

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