The Little Station in the Woods   Page 3

This view of the Avenue H station in January 1906 predates the one on page 1 by a couple of months. The original right-of-way of the Brighton Line is at thr right of the picture and we are facing south. The small trestle takes the Bay Ridge branch of the LIRR Manhattan Beach Line over the Brighton tracks, the opposite of today's arrangement. As of yet, there is no sign on the future station house, nestled in the woods at left, and a little distance from the train tracks. The large sign advertises Fiske Terrace.    Paul Matus Collection


Enter Mr. Ackerson
In the first decade of the 20th century, Flatbush was no longer a town and Brooklyn no longer a city. Even as the first subway was being built under the streets of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Grade Crossing Elimination Commission was beginning the work of converting the southern reaches on the Brighton Beach Line from a surface running extension of the Fulton Street Elevated into a four-track, fully grade-separated modern rapid transit line.
     It is no surprise that development would follow the path of construction to house those who wanted to move from the congested confines of the city to the suburbs of southern Brooklyn.
Some of the development was to consist of small tract houses, but not all. One of those who saw the potential for the placement of big beautiful houses amidst the woods of the newly opened areas was Thomas Benton Ackerson. Ackerson envisioned and built the planned community of Fiske Terrace, the beautiful grouping of roads and houses that still stretches north from Avenue H.
      It was at this time that the distinctive Avenue H station house was constructed, probably also by Mr. Ackerson. But was it always a station house? We know, from photos such as those shown here, that it was the T.B. Ackerson Real Estate Office. It could also have served as a station house at the same time, but evidence indicates that the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, then proprietor of the Brighton Line, had its own smaller station house on the north side of Avenue H in 1906, at the time that the current station was the Ackerson office.
     So it was this little house, intimately connected with the development of the community, which has come down to us today as the Avenue H station house, a historic gem of the subway system. One hopes that it will not disappear in some future fit of modernization.

Continued on page 4

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