It took awhile, but Curbed commenter and Cornerspotter-extraordinaire Ferryboi correctly identified this famed historic house as the Pouch Mansion in Clinton Hill. The now-demolished building has quite a history; interestingly, it wasn't even built for the Pouch family. Designed by William Mundell in 1887 for Robert Graves, who made his fortunes from wallpaper, the brownstone mansion was on a block filled with similar houes as Clinton Hill was stuffed to the max with rich folk. Graves died before he could ever live in the house, and in 1890, oilman Alfred Pouch bought it during an auction. Pouch, it seems, liked to throw parties, which were so popular, the dinners and dancing made their way into an 1895 New York Times "Social World" column.
Brownstoner wrote a historic feature on the old mansion and evidently, it was the place to be:
Alfred Pouch was a passionate collector of art, and upon buying the Graves Mansion, he built a wooden addition onto the building to house his large art collection. Most of his pieces were works of contemporary artists. In an unprecedented move, he also began to host charitable and social events. The enormous mansion was filled with the finest furnishings and finishings, and soon all of Brooklyn society had a new place to gather and gossip. It seems to have begun with a benefit for the Brooklyn Home for Consumptives, in April of 1891. Pouch threw open his house for a gala benefit for that organization, which included mounting an impressive gallery show, and in an evening, a party venue was born. Ironically, the Brooklyn Eagle referred to the house as the "Graves Mansion" several times in this and subsequent stories, but it wouldn't take long for the Pouch Mansion to become a household name. The opportunity to get inside a swanky new mansion was not lost on anyone, including the rich, and the Eagle reporter took his opportunity to gush that the price of admission was worth it just to be able to go inside the house.
The house was torn down some time during World War II, when the land was needed to build housing for workers in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Today, the Clinton Hill Co-ops occupy the buildings.
· Hint: A Famous House Razed for Bigger Developments [Curbed]
· Photo: Pouch Mansion, 1939 [MCNY]
· Informal Dancing at the Pouch Mansion [NYT archives]
· Walkabout: Meet Me at the Pouch [Brownstoner]