Unfortunately, 544 Marcy Avenue is the address of a building that’s part of the Marcy Houses housing development, constructed in 1949 in Bed-Stuy.
So it’s tough to know what the house for rent at that address—as detailed in the “house agreement” from 1908 excerpted here—looked like around the time it was leased.
Was it a three-story brownstone like the one across the way at Marcy and Floyd Street? Or a charming wood-frame home, the kind still standing in Clinton Hill and Brooklyn Heights?
Whatever kind of house it was, a woman named Agnes D. Davies apparently agreed to lease it to one Ellen McLaughlin from May 1908 to May 1909 for the grand total of $30 per month.
It may not have been a princely sum—inflation calculators claim $30 in 1908 is equal to $718 today.
This part of Marcy Avenue once was rather distinguished. An 1888 Brooklyn Eagle obituary details the death of the man who lived there at the time, Henry Grasser, describing him as a “prominent member” of several lodges and societies.
[Thanks to J. Warren for making this lease available]