Dunham Place

Dunham Place

<p><a href="http://www.forgotten-ny.com/SLICES/dunham/dunham.html">Forgotten NY</a> has an article today about Dunham Place, one of the two shortest streets in Williamsburg (<a href="http://www.wgpa.us/2007/09/fillmore_place_historic_distri_1.html">Fillm… Place</a> being the other). Dunham Place is the one-block street that runs between Broadway and South 5th Street, a block east of Kent Avenue. As Forgotten says, the street opened in 1850 and is home to a number of impressive late-19th century loft buildings. According to an 1827 map of the Village of Williamsburgh, a "Mr. Dunham" (probably David Ross Dunham) owned a large house on the south side of South 7th Street (now Broadway), facing the head of what would become Dunham Place (there is an extremely ugly building there now). This was a stone house originally constructed by a Capt. D. Griswold; Dunham later constructed a larger house, referred to as the Dunham Mansion, north of Broadway - probably in the vicinity of today's Dunham Place.</p>
<p>[As with Fillmore Place, the historic block on which Dumham sits was very large and eccentric to the street grid; it would be interesting to know if the opening of Dunham was a speculative real estate venture as well.]</p>
<p>Dunham Place was <em>not</em> the first street in Williamsburg to be named after entrepreneur and property owner David Dunham. That honor goes to Grand Street, the lower portion of which (i.e., the stretch west of Bedford Avenue) was once called Dunham Street. Actually, that was the second name for Grand Street, as Grand Street from the river to Roebling was laid out as Washington Street in 1812 by Thomas Morrell, one of Williamsburgh's founding fathers. At that time, he also named the spit of land that jutted into the East River (the area just west of Grand Ferry Park today) Morrell Point. </p>
<p>David Dunham purchased Williamsburgh (yes, apparently all of it - which at the time probably meant from Division Avenue to somewhere north of Metropolitan, and the East River to Bedford) at a sheriff's auction in 1818. Dunham's son, David Ross Dunham, opened the first steam ferry service from Williamsburgh to Manhattan. Dunham <em>pere</em> expanded his Williamsburgh holdings in 1821 by purchasing the the farm of John Conselyea, which was located on either side of South 6th Street, from the East River to just east of Berry Street. David Dunham was also responsible for establishing the first school in Williamsburgh, donating a plot of land on the block bounded by North 1st, Berry, Grand and Bedford ("where the old log cabin stood"). There, the Bushwick District School was constructed in a one-story frame building.</p>

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