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Gowanus wall may get city protection

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city said this week it plans to investigate whether to landmark a revered Gowanus wall that some believe has a place in the annals of baseball history.

The Landmark Preservation Commission said it will review whether the 20-foot wall, which stands at Third Avenue between First and Third Streets, should be named a city landmark. “We are aware of it, and it is under considerat­ion,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokesperson for Landmarks.

Some believe the wall was once part of a clubhouse or carriage house in Washington Park stadium, where baseball teams that would later become the Brooklyn Dodgers once played. From 1898-1912, the Brooklyn Superbas, later known as the Trolley Dodgers and then the Dodgers, played in the stadium.

Reports surfaced last week that the historic value of the wall has now become suspect. Brooklyn historian and author Brian Merlis reportedly said that there is no evidence that the wall is original to the now-vanished stadium, claiming with “absolute certainty” that the wall was not a part of the stadium prior to the team’s departure in 1912.

The property is today owned by Consolidated Edison, which is in the process of demolishing the building and reconstructing a new dispatch area for its service trucks. Company spokesperson D. Joy Faber said the wall would be protected, regardless of any scholarly dispute. “We will preserve a portion of the wall because we know it has significant historical value to the public and baseball historians,” she said.

It would not be unheard of for Landmarks to confer special protection to a single wall. The agency has in the past landmarked a street grid, lamp posts, and two trees, de Bourbon noted.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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