After hours, and hours, and hours, and HOURS spent sitting in the Department of Building Old Records Room, I finally walked out with a copy of the original plans to our building. Everyone was helpful, it was just that they were working with machines that were built before I was born. The plans were on microfilm that was then transferred to large format printouts; but it was all trial and error with ink going out, jams and the like.
The plans I finally walked out with have some great info and help us look inside the walls without having to actually open them up. Plus they are just plain fun to see. For the most part, our floor plan has gone unchanged.
Some of the short hand is a bit obscure and I can't figure out what all the symbols are. It is fascinating to see where the house began. Once the drawings are final, I'll post a side by side comparison. There are a few things that have been changed from the time the home was built and some of our new renovations will pay homage to the original details, however, we are adding some modern conveniences, like a washer and dryer and closets. The were some closets added over the years but they are all small and now that we have the space we can't help ourselves from building in some storage, a rarity here in NY.
Some more historical information that I dug up is that Louis Berger & Co. was the Architect. While the builder was Christian Doenecke (b.1859), who built a number of houses in various historic districts of Ridgewood. Doenecke was a mason and formed a construction company, Christian Doenecke & Co. Born in Helmershansen, Germany, Doenecke immigrated to the United
States in 1883 and became a naturalized citizen in 1886. He lived in Brooklyn with his wife, Katherina Kaeppel Doenecke, and family.
I've been told by numerous contractors that the brick on the building is in terrific shape. It's pretty beautiful and solid to this day. Way to go Mr. Doenecke, way to go.