The Little Station in the Woods   Page 4

Some have suggested that the Avenue H station house was always a railroad station and that it housed the T.B. Ackerson real estate office as a dual use or that it may not have been the real estate office at all, but carried the name of the company as an on-site ad.
     In support of this argument is the observation that, with its generous porches, it looks like a railroad station. However, there are several arguments against this. As I’ve noted, there appears to have been a separate station/ticket office existing contemporaneously. Additionally, the style of the building is said to have been a popular cottage style of the era, originating in New England. I know, for example, that there is an old home on one of the original roads of Babylon, Long Island that is a virtual ringer for the Avenue H station house, wrap around porches and all, and that there was never a railroad at that location.
     In my desire to have a definitive answer to the question of the building’s original and intended purpose, I went to what I hoped to be “the horse’s mouth.”
     After the Ackerson Company built Fiske Terrace, it built another large planned community, Brightwaters, on the south shore of Long Island, just west of Bay Shore. This large community of homes, some of them mansions, centers on a 4,000-foot canal and additional streams and decorative bridges on the Great South Bay.
     What Brightwaters still has that Fiske Terrace has not is an office of the Ackerson Real Estate Company, the same company that built these works nearly a century ago.
     I recently visited the Ackerson office in the hope that someone might have access to records that would settle the origin and use of the Avenue H station house once and for all. Armed with a photo of the station with the “T.B. Ackerson” sign prominent, I learned that the folks there were well aware of their company’s two big developments, but, alas, no one there could help me.
     The folks there regretted, though, that I couldn’t have spoken to the late Ward Ackerson, T. B. Ackerson’s son, who knew about every detail of the company’s past and surely would have been happy to answer my questions.
     Those who research history, myself among them, are sometimes confident that the details of something that happened almost 100 years ago will be about as accessible now as they were five, ten or twenty years ago. So I wasn't prepared to learn that I had missed Mr. Ackerson by a single year. It seems he passed away in 1998 at the age of 96, perhaps taking with him the secret of a piece of Brooklyn history that took place when he was a little boy.

Link: Some more subway station houses may be seen at
Kevin Walsh's






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Last updated December 25, 1999