Frank Clair house in Sheepshead Bay

An important bay home may have a date with the wrecking ball, conservationists fear

Brooklyn Daily
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An historic Sheepshead Bay house could be history if its future owner doesn’t take steps to preserve the building, community conservationists fear.

The two-story Voorhies Avenue dwelling built by the late Circle Line co-founder Frank Clair is among a diminishing crop of Victorian homes built in Sheepshead Bay at the turn of the last century that have managed to evade the wrecking ball, residents say. But, judging from the recent flurry of activity on the property — which is in the process of being sold — some fear that the home between E. 22nd and Dooley streets could be a thing of the past.

“I was hoping preservation societies and elected officials would preserve this,” said Steve Barrison, founder of the Bay Improvement Group. “We have almost no history left in Sheepshead Bay because all the old houses have been knocked down.”

Residents said the “sold” sign in front of the property has been taken down and a posting on Craigslist advertised a tag sale there last month.

Brooklyn Historian Ron Schweiger said the home’s pedigree transcends its architecture. The home should be eyed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission because of Clair, who pioneered Brooklyn’s tour-boat industry by converting a yacht into a cruiser in the 1930s and turned Sheepshead Bay into party-boat central.

“That itself is significant,” said Schweiger.

Clair’s son Edward inherited the house after his father died in 1992. Clair didn’t return calls for comment.

But Schweiger said any deal that could rob the bay of an historical gem would spell disaster for its skyline.

“The fear is that someone who’s purchasing it might tear it down and build a high-rise condo,” he said.

Sheepshead Bay has only one landmarked building — Lundy’s Brothers Restaurant on Emmons and Ocean avenues.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Mat from Marine Park says:
Where is the zoning board and the community board when you need them?
July 10, 2012, 7:23 pm
richard from sheepshead says:
this house was neglected for years. look at the weeds in the front yard. now all of a sudden people give a ——. give me a break.
July 11, 2012, 1:39 am
Barb from Brooklyn says:
The realtor didn't mow the lawn--so the house should come down? That isn't logical.
July 11, 2012, 9:32 pm
Jess from staten island says:
So sad. Older homes in the Bay being torn down or turned into unrecognizable stucco palaces. So glad I am not around to see it every day.....but if people such as myself would have stayed in the Bay, as opposed to fleeing across the bridge, perhaps things would be different. Difficult to watch the demise of what was a fantastic place to live and grow up.
Aug. 8, 2012, 12:18 pm
Jim from Flatlands says:
House should be saved but it was not built by Frank Clair. He bought it in the late 192o's.
Sept. 12, 2012, 7:16 pm
Ro from Staten Island says:
As a child, I thought this was the most beautiful house. I dreamt of living there. So sad it will be torn down. Another piece of Sheepshead Bay charm gone.
May 20, 2013, 1:53 pm

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