Neighbor Needs Help Solving Photo Flashback Mystery

Neighbor Needs Help Solving Photo Flashback Mystery
Lotte Andersson, Courtesy Justin van Deursen

Neighbor Justin van Deursen brings us a little South Slope mystery for this week’s photo flashback.

Meet my great grandmother. Her name was Emilia Charlotta Andersson Liva. She went by Lotte. Isn’t she cute? She was born in the tiny town of Göteryd, Sweden in 1877, moved alone to Stockholm as a teenager, met and married an Italian sculptor who was living in Stockholm in 1904 and they moved to what’s now known as South Slope that year. She lived the rest of her life in South Slope. This photo is one of only 2 known to exist of her and I would love to know exactly where it was taken.

Justin suspects that the photo was taken somewhere along 5th Avenue, circa 1945. The street signs in the photograph are all too blurry to make out, but there are some building details in the background that might offer up a few hints.

Lottie’s last residence in the area was at 262 18th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue, but between 1904 and the time of this photograph, she lived in seven other homes that stretched from 3rd Avenue and 30th Street to 14th Street near 4th Avenue.

In addition to walking up and down 5th Avenue trying to match the buildings in Lotte’s picture to the ones still standing today, we’ve started looking through some of the old 5th Avenue photographs in the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection, and the digital archives of the New York Public Library to see if we can find anything that fits, but have so far come up empty handed.

August 8 would have been the birthday of Lotte’s son, so it appears the stars are aligning for us to solve this mystery today. Do any of our neighborhood history detectives out there have a clue?

Photo courtesy Justin van Deursen