The needler in the haystack.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hidden Plainfield: 'When space is tight' property IDs

Developer Watson Whittlesey lent his first name to street on which these homes are found.
Space seems always to have been on the minds of residents in the neighborhood of yesterday's Hidden Plainfield post.

The area was promoted by a local real estate developer named Watson Whittlesey in 1891 through a broker-partner with offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Plainfield, William H. Moffitt, as per notices with an 1891 plat map shown above (the full map, which is very large, is available online at Rutgers' mapmaker site here).

Whittlesey lent his first name, Watson, to the street on which these two home are located, steps away from both the Netherwood train and postal stations.

Buyers did not see 25' lots as spacious enough.
Twenty-five foot frontage was an urban speculator's interpretation of spaciousness (as in Brooklyn and Harlem brownstones), but went the way of high-button shoes once buyers got to Plainfield and saw the spaciousness of the lots for the 'other' Netherwood neighborhood on the south side of the railroad station.

Even at fifty-feet widths, lots can seem narrow to us, which form the basis of the problem that homeowners solved by way of the 'expansion' shown in yesterday's Hidden Plainfield -- by enclosing the front porch to add extra living space.

Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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