An early morning fire did damage to one of several historic structures, once referred to locally as “Cottage Row.” The building, located at 9 Columbia Pl., near Joralemon St., is one of nine of its kind built in the 1840s. Firefighters were on the scene shortly before 2:30 this morning, and discovered fire between the first and second floors of the frame structure. Other than a couple slips on the icy sidewalk, no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire couldn’t be immediately determined, and the Fire Marshals will investigate.
One of the building’s past residents would undoubtedly have reasons to be suspicious. In 1876, the house was occupied by Michael J. Allen, a member of the Democratic General Committee of Kings County and the First Ward Democratic Association. A not-so-friendly neighbor from Furman Street, Thomas Shanley, was a Republican with aspirations of becoming First Ward Alderman. Shanley’s attempts at attaining that office, however, were unsuccessful, and there was talk that he cast the blame on Allen.
Late in the evening of August 24, 1876, Allen was standing on the corner of Court St. and Joralemon St., when Shanley approached him from behind with a pistol, and fired a shot into his back. The wounded Allen pursued Shanley towards Fulton St. The sound of the shot attracted the attention of some nearby cops, who took Shanley into custody. The assailant apparently told his arresting officers that he had good cause for his actions, and that he’d explain everything at a proper time. Meanwhile, Allen, described as a “fleshy man,” was treated by a doctor who reported a small wound near the shoulder blade that didn’t show any signs of bleeding.
This, of course, was in the days BEFORE Brooklyn Heights Blog sponsored civil debates between candidates for office.