While our neighborhood has plenty of homes that easily adhere to memory, the pagoda-like structure at 131 Buckingham Road that is often referred to as “the Japanese house” is one that, even among our grandeur-filled streets, sticks out.
Tucked away among trees on Buckingham, just before Albemarle and not far from Church Avenue, the home has once again landed attention from the media, including this interesting post by Untapped Cities – which was then picked up by The Real Deal.
Urban legend tells that this Japanese house was built special for the Japanese Ambassador, and it was shipped over piece by piece from Japan. Neither of those stories are true. What is true, however, is that somebody actually lives in this Japanese style house south of Prospect Park in Flatbush-Ditmas Park. It was built in 1903, and currently, the house has landmark status and it is valued at over $1 million.
According to the New York Times, this Brooklyn Japanese house was built by the American architecture firm Kirby, Petit & Green as a way to attract a luxury clientele to this newly developed neighborhood. Appreciation of Japanese art was in vogue in the late 19th century, when you couldn’t be caught dead without an “oriental room” in your mansion.
The home sold in 1906 to doctor and writer Frederick Strange Kolle (who wrote this book in 1898 on x-rays and another about cosmetic surgery) for $26,0000 and then for $80,000 in 1972 to Gloria and Albert Fischer. Gloria still resides in the house and has opened it up to the public for tours on occasion, with the last one being in June 2013. For anyone who hasn’t gotten to go on one of the tours, Curbed NY has an amazing photo gallery of the home’s incredible interior.