03 May 2011

Cobble Hill Convent Gets Big Clean-Up


The former Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor/Congregation of the Infant Jesus, the old convent buildings at the corner of Henry and Kane in Cobble Hill—sold a little while ago for $5.4 million—is getting a major renovation as its being converted into apartments. The tall, wooden front doors are being sanded and stripped and repaired. The long, cast-iron fence around the property is being stripped of all rust. But, most important, the back yard, which for many years has been filled with weeds and appalling array of junk, is being cleared. A mini-bulldozer was busy leveling the brush and dumping loads of crap into a nearby dumpster. (See below)


The high cement wall on the west and north sides of the old convent was built in 1913, nearly 100 years ago. This is the first time I've ever seen the black metal door in the middle of that wall open. It's always been padlocked until now. 



Looking through the old door, I got a glimpse of the remaining weeds, all dead, left in the lot.


I also saw the lovely detailing on this old window. I hope they restore it.


These properties, long in disrepair, are old, old South Brooklyn. The Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor/Congregation of the Infant Jesus was an order which began in France. They devoted their time to caring for the sick, looking after their homes and giving them medicine. The nuns used to hold dances to raise money. According to my records, the buildings were built in the 1850s and are among the oldest in the area. One they, plus the building to their right, stood alone, surrounded by land. The nuns moved in in 1906 and it became a convent. 

6 comments:

Carol Gardens said...

Much older than 1906. Isn't that the "default date" on some records? I forget why it is 1906. Discussion on Brownstoner:

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2011/01/439441_henry_st.php

I love these buildings. Could be quite grand. They have always looked (puzzlingly) abandoned on the parlor floor.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

You're probably right. I forget where I got that date.

Delia said...

When I was a little girl, my mother would send me to the Convent with shopping bags full of gently-used clothing for the Sisters to distribute. The vestibule and front hall staircase were full of mahogany wood and paneling. It was absolutely gorgeous and beautifully maintained.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I wonder what it's like today. I've love to get a look inside.

NICODA said...

I don't know how old the buildings are, but it became a convent in 1906 when the sisters moved in. They left France after they had their property seized by the French government. The sisters now live on Long Island, but I don't think any of them are old enough to remember the move.

http://cijnssp.org/about/history.htm

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I amended the history of the buildings. They're there in an 1855 map of the area I looked at. Same footprint and everything.