" The Eastern District "

Then & Now


Here are some photos I found in The Brooklyn Historical Society with the able assistance of Sean Ashby at the Society's Library. The Knapps that I am writing about, wound up living everywhere, but Brooklyn is where they started and many still remain.


J. F. Knapp Mansion at 554 Bedford Ave & corner of Ross St.

Originally known as No. 84 Bedford.

This copy of a poor photo was not scanned properly, but I cannot get to the original as the actual Brooklyn Historical Society is closed for renovations till late 2002. I was very fortunate to be able to access their digitized photo collection. The photo was taken around 1900 and is in a scrapbook in the BHS Library's files. That is an awning slanting downward on the Bedford Ave side. J. F., Phoebe, Antoinette and J. P. resided here from the 1860's till 1892. Around that time the widow Phoebe moved to Savoy Hotel.Antoinette lived next door in her 1885 Wedding Present Home, while J. P. resided in Manhattan. After Phoebe moved away it became a dance school. I know it was still standing in the late 1940's.

Below is what is there today



Directly across the street on the North West Corner of Bedford & Ross is this home from the same era

Notice the date on the photo Feb. 1959. The date of the Knapp Mansions demise in Mastic Beach. I wonder if their home here was still standing when this photo was taken?


The same house today (A on map) The short part is facing Bedford Ave. minus it's next door neighbors.and directly across Ross is this same era home (B on map)

BELOW: If you stepped out of The Knapp's front door when they lived there and looked up Bedford Ave. to the west, this is what you would see.


One of those stoops in the left foreground would lead you to Antoinette Knapp & Edward Copeland Wallace's door at #80 Bedford as it was known in 1885. The house was a wedding gift from J.F. & Phoebe. Antoinette & Edward were married in St. Johns M. E. Church that is looming above the corner of Wilson & Bedford. The Wallace's Home is also gone.


C=St.Johns K=Knapp Home

A=NW Corner Home B=NE Corner Home


This rooftop photo taken in 1922, is looking eastward on Bedford.


The Knapp's were very active in St. John's. Phoebe was the organist and J. F. was the superintendent of the Sunday School. Young J. P. contributed $3.00 a week of his $5.00 salary to St. John's in 1881.


And what a Sunday School it was!


This photo was taken in 1930. Looking south down Wilson St. Like the Knapp Mansion, and Antoinette's home, St. John's is no longer a fixture on Bedford Ave.



A dance school, a private club and a catering hall were some of the uses for the Knapp's place in it's final years. The Wedding of Florence Abel took place there in 1948. These photos were taken by Harry Kalmus.


Notice the chandelier. It's reminiscent of those on the Titanic.

When the Knapp's lived there it was lit by candlelight.


Here Comes "Floorie" on Feb.8, 1948. Is this where "Netty" entered the room 63 years earlier Feb.18,1885?

Was this the music room that J. F. surprised Phoebe with when she returned from Europe? Several US Presidents and many other dignitaries were guests here


I think both Phoebe & J. F. would heartily approve of wedding parties continuing in their home

Here is the newspaper account of the one they threw here for "Netty"


Here are some newly discovered EXCELLENT PHOTOS OF THE KNAPP MANSION taken when they lived there