An infamous murder on Brooklyn’s Lincoln Place

LincolnfifthavenuesignEver notice that Brooklyn’s Degraw Street suddenly becomes Lincoln Place after crossing Fifth Avenue?

The name change has to do with a gruesome murder near this intersection in 1873, then the media attention that gripped the block for the next few years.

In March, Charles Goodrich, a 41-year-old widower, was found with three gunshot wounds to the head in his brownstone at what was then 731 Degraw Street.

At first, police thought it might be suicide or a robbery. But strangely, his body had been laid out neatly and cleaned of blood.

LizzielloydkingSo when neighbors reported that a young woman had been living in the house and that they often saw Goodrich with her on the stoop, police took the investigation in a new direction.

They believed the woman’s name was Kate Stoddard (right); she was a Massachusetts native in her 20s who worked in a hat factory in Manhattan. But for months, she proved to be elusive.

Finally, after a sighting by Stoddard’s ex-roommate on the Fulton Ferry, cops tracked her down.

During questioning, she denied everything—until detectives found Charles Goodrich’s personal items in her room in a boarding house on High Street.

Reportedly she confessed. Turns out her real name was Lizzie Lloyd King. She’d met Goodrich through a personal ad, and they soon married.

DegrawstreetfifthandsixthThen Goodrich told her the marriage was a sham and he wanted her to leave him alone, as he was now engaged to another woman.

During an argument in the house on Degraw Street, a spurned King drew a gun and shot Goodrich dead.

In 1874, she was committed to an upstate insane asylum for life—but not before residents of Degraw Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues  (left) petitioned the city to have the street’s name changed, fearing the “unpleasant associations” with the murder.

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9 Responses to “An infamous murder on Brooklyn’s Lincoln Place”

  1. Murrayfamilytree@aol.com Says:

    I believe this is this man. The name is mispelled Goodnick Charles 42 y Mar 20 1873 2292 Kings

  2. Newport Carl Says:

    Excellent … How do you keep this site so consistently fresh and interesting? Great job. We love this site

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you! Lots of help from those who have written about and researched NYC so closely over the years.

  4. Tuesday Blogwrap – insiderater.com Says:

    […] An Infamous Murder on Brooklyn’s Lincoln Place [Ephemeral New York] 23rd Street Mega Stoop Sale Coming up This Weekend [CCofGH] Eyes on the Street: Checking Out Books at Putnam Plaza [Streetsblog] Auctioned One Hanson Place Penthouse Returns for $3.6M [Curbed] Castle in the Loire Valley of Brooklyn Seeks $1.3 Million [Curbed] Renovating Dome Playgro… More […]

  5. Harry Stanton Says:

    I have heard the story of Degraw Street name change many times, but something doesn’t ring true. For one thing, Degraw Street west of Fifth Avenue did not get a name change. Also, five other adjacent parallel streets also change names at Fifth Avenue and there just weren’t that many bodies lying around to explain each of them. More than likely, the area east of Fifth was just mapped out and developed separately after the Civil War and some years after the land to the west.

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I don’t know…the 1872 Times article says the proposal to change the name is a direct result of the Goodrich murder.

  7. Harry Stanton Says:

    And the Times said there were WMDs in Iraq too.

  8. Robert Oppedisano Says:

    Thanks much once again. I grew up on Union St and Fifth Avenue, and never knew (honestly, never really worried) why Lincoln became Degraw–or even why Berkeley Place became Sackett Street, either. But I’m sure you’ll know.

  9. therealguyfaux Says:

    At least we do know for sure why Malbone Street had ITS name changed. I was unaware that Brooklynites had resorted to this bit of Orwellianness ( “We have always called it Empire Bl/Lincoln Pl”) decades before.

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