Back in February, I posted an item about an endearingly ramshackle buidling on Columbia Street near Hamilton under the heading "Not Yet Renovated in Brooklyn."
Well, things change quickly these days. Sometime over the last month, the three-story building has been subject to a major overhaul. The coat of green paint, which I always found attractive, has been sheered off to reveal the red brick beneath. The brick facade has been repointed, the broken windows knocked out and the window frames shored up. The ground floor space has been completely gutted and the debris tossed into a huge dumpster parked out front. Our little unrenovated building in on its way to a new life.
I checked in with a neighboring store and learned a lot about the old address' history. The old lady who owned it, and had let it go to rack and ruin, sold it six months ago and the new owner is the one revamping it. It will have two apartments up top and a storefront beneath, just as it used to have. They're going to try to keep as much of the lovely ground-floor woodwork as possible.
The previous owner had at one time run a junk shop out of the storefront, and the building was filled with her stuff. As the years went on, the structure failed so badly that the upper floors partly detached themselves from the out walls. This, however, did not deter a couple of squatters who lived on the top floor sans heat and plumbing. The interior was, all in all, a veritable horror show, from what I gather. The site racked up tons of violations from the DOB in 2005 and 2006.
Not that anyone care, but I collected some information about the building's past lives. Nothing too scintillating, but here it is for what it's worth. The building was the base of one D.H. Maher and Company in 1889. Thomas A Kerrigan sold it in 1995 to Bernard Gruse, Jr. for $5,600. A Sadie Lennart died there on Dec. 23, 1907. (No Merry Christmas that year.) And something from 1885 about a neighbor living at 313 Columbia: "Annie Mahoney, a very pretty girl of 17, of No. 313 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, ran away from home three weeks ago. She was arrested yesterday at Briody Brothers' dancing pavilion, at West Brightton, by Chief McKane. In the station house her mother pleaded with her to return home, but she vehemently declared that she preferred to go to prison... The girl cursed her mother roundly."