* 383 Pacific Street – originally “No. 359” – was a brownstone house built in the mid-1850s upon land formerly belonging to the old Samuel L. Gerritsen farm. William E. Bird, a wealthy merchant, purchased five lots along the street’s north side, improving all five of them at the same time. A dealer in oils was the first homeowner, although the property was foreclosed upon when he died, forcing Bird to have to resell the property. The next owners were a couple who possessed the property for just four years. The subsequent owner, Margaret Dietrich, who possessed $25,000 in real estate in the City of Brooklyn, would not only live in the house, but she would also use the property for its rent roll, utilizing it as a boarding house for 15 years. In 1882, when the house was next sold, it was conveyed to Margaret E. McNeely, who would own it for approximately 50 years. Margaret was related by marriage to Brooklyn’s very powerful Democratic political boss, Hugh McLaughlin, who helped Margaret to buy the property, giving her a mortgage on it. A number of marriages and funerals – as well as a coming of age party – were held in the house, but its most conspicuous event would turn out to be connected with Margaret’s husband, Thomas, who was a close aide of Boss McLaughlin’s. In 1909, with no forewarning, Thomas went to bed and placed a bullet through his skull. The McNeely’s would eventually lose the house to foreclosure in the 1930s, after which it became the pawn of speculators and rooming house operators for many years.

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