clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

19th-century Clinton Hill landmark with a spooky past wants $4.5M

New, 10 comments

The mansion at 136 Clinton Avenue has a lot of history—and a multimillion dollar price tag

It’s not every day that a building with as much history as the Lefferts-Laidlaw House hits the market in New York City, but today is that day—the landmarked Greek Revival structure at 136 Clinton Avenue is now for sale, with an asking price of $4.5 million. It was built in the 1840s and is now both an individual city landmark (designated as such in 2001) and part of the Wallabout Historic District, comprising several blocks near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

This particular house has a fascinating history: It’s routinely referred to as one of the most haunted residences in New York, thanks to a bout of paranormal activity that plagued its former owner, Edward F. Smith, in the late 19th century. (Scouting NY lays out the whole spooky tale, but it was a big enough deal at the time to warrant two stories in the New York Times. Go figure.) Here's an image from the time, via Bowery Boys:

That’s not why it was designated a landmark, of course; the LPC designation from 2011 calls it a "rare surviving example of a freestanding, temple-fronted Greek Revival building in Brooklyn, and may be the only remaining temple-fronted Greek Revival residence in Kings County." (Temple-fronted, BTW, is pretty self-explanatory—it means the facade resembles a Greek temple.) Per the designation, much of the home’s original details—its clapboard siding, decorative moldings, and the like—have remained intact, though its Corinthian columns were replaced at some point over the years.

Now, to address the elephant in the room: the interiors do need some work, more than someone paying $4.5 million for a home might reasonably want to do. (They’re totally fine, though at odds with the grandeur of the space itself.) But there are enough pros to the space—it’s big (six bedrooms, 2,250 square feet), the exterior is gorgeous, it has tons of outdoor space—that a buyer looking for a unique opportunity might be swayed.