WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 19
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
sold for $11,000, with buyers required
to pay a $2,000 cash down payment,
and the remainder in easy payments.
Inasmuch as the landlord was able to
rent the fl ats for $15 to $16 per month,
the rental income was $1,140 per year,
sufficient to pay the mortgage payments
plus taxes, water and upkeep
charges. The reception to the houses
In building the houses, they laid
sewers, paved the streets and installed
Most of the bricks for the houses
came from Kreischer Brick Company
in Staten Island. The Ridgewood Iron
Works provided the iron work for
the gates, fences and stoop railings.
Woodwork came from Charles Rothbach
Builders were paid about $18 per
week by the various contractors, with
all workers putting in a 48-hour, sixday
As a result of the sales of the
Mathews Flats at the Fleckenstein
Farm, the following year, the company
negotiated with the heirs of
Joachim Meirose (the family would
later change the name to Meyerrose)
to purchase the family farm.
Joachim Meirose originally
purchased 8.67 acres from John C.
Debevoise on Mar. 18, 1853 for $6,936,
or $800 per acre, for land bounded on
the north by the neighboring farm of
John C. Doscher, on the west by Woodward
avenue and on the east by lands
belonging to Ann Onderdonk.
The heirs of Joachim Meirose—
Richard and Joseph Meyerrose, and
Margaret Meyerrose Brunies—were
reportedly paid $20,000 by the
Mathews Brothers for most of
On Mar. 6, 1909, the Meyerroses
sold another 1.28 acres on the north
side of Catalpa Avenue to the Diocese
of Brooklyn, led by Bishop Charles
McDonnell. St. Matthias Church and
School would be developed there.
Meantime, the Mathews Brothers began
building on Magnolia Street (now
Gates Avenue) and Palmetto Street.
On Sept. 28, 1911, the Meyerrose
heirs sold the farmhouse and barns
remaining on what would later
become the southwest corner of Cornelia
Street (now 68th Avenue) and
Woodward Avenue. The Mathews
brothers demolished the structures
to make way for more of their homes.
That very same day, the stockholders
of the G.X. Mathews Company— based
with an offi ce at 2040 Palmetto St.—
mortgaged a 462 x 100 foot section
of land for $114,500 with the Dime
Savings Bank in Williamsburg. This
land was located on the north side of
Cornelia Street between Woodward
and Onderdonk avenues.
The parcel was divided into 15 interior
lots carrying a mortgage of $6,500
each and two corner lots with mortgages
of $8,500 each. Shortly thereaft er, up
came more Mathews fl ats.
In all, the Mathews Brothers built
650 of their six-family homes along
Madison Street, Putnam Avenue,
Cornelia Street, Woodbine Street,
Gates Avenue and Palmetto Street.
They also built smaller homes along
Linden Street, Grove Street and
So revolutionary were the
Mathews Flats that they were exhibited
in 1915 at the Panama-Pacific
Fair in San Francisco; the New York
City Tenement Housing Department
hailed them as an outstanding example
The thrift of the people who placed
their money in the savings banks
generated the capital to make the
buildings of these homes possible.
Also, the industrious nature of the
Mathews Brothers, particularly Gustave
Mathews, and their meticulous
attention to detail insured good
workmanship to make these houses
a worthwhile, long-term investment.
Indeed, to this day, the Mathews
Flats remain a worthwhile investment.
The good news is that many of
those buildings now in Ridgewood’s
three historic districts (North, South
and Central) fall under landmark protection.
Any changes to the exterior of
the homes in these districts must meet
Landmarks Preservation Commission
approval and be “in character”
with the building’s nature.
While some owners might fi nd it
inconvenient, the process ensure the
Mathews fl ats will be here to stay so
that future generations may relish
the opportunity to live in some of our
community’s fi nest apartments.
Reprinted from the Nov. 6, 2014
* * *
If you have any memories and
photos that you’d like to share about
“Our Neighborhood:The Way it Was,”
write to The Old Timer, c/o Ridgewood
Times, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY
11361, or send an email to editorial@
ridgewoodtimes.com. All mailed pictures
will be carefully returned upon
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