Anyone who loves Brooklyn Heights and wants to know more about its history, should consider these five books as a quick primer on the neighborhood. Long time residents/readers of BHB may already be familiar with these titles – at least two are written by friends of the site – and are welcome to share their insight and other suggestions in the comments below.
Old Brooklyn Heights: America’s First Suburb by Clay Lancaster:
Books about Brooklyn Heights do not get more influential than this survey of the neighborhood. Written by respected historian Clay Lancaster after Heights Hero Otis Pearsall asked for his help in cataloging the historical homes here. That document fueled the effort to its landmarking in 1965. Nancy Pearsall discusses the research process here.
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade by Henrk Krogius:
The process that lead to the creation of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a great story. It includes the larger than life character of Robert Moses versus preservation activists of Brooklyn Heights. Once you’ve read it, you’ll know there’s a lot more to the Promenade than just a nice view.
The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate:
Long before Paul Giamatti, Bjork and Lena Dunham lived in Brooklyn Heights it was home to America’s first “rock star” preacher. Reading this book will make your next trip down Orange Street a lot more interesting.
Battling for Brooklyn Heights/The Fight for New York’s First Historic District by Martin L. Schneider:
Read about the fight to preserve the landmarks of Brooklyn Heights from someone who was there — on the inside. You can purchase this book at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange at 55 Pierrepont Street today!