Sadly, another piece of Canarsie history is gone forever. A beautiful, old Canarsie home was leveled to the ground last month.
The house, located at 1372 East 92nd Street, was built in 1899 and was the former home of a prominent judge, William R. Wilson, who lived there until his death in 1963. The spacious property extended all the way to East 91st Street and was cherished by longtime Canarsie residents.
Over the past 30 years, many of Canarsie’s one- and two-family homes have been torn down in the name of progress – to make room for multi-dwelling condominiums that many feel rob the neighborhood of its old-town charm. The “Wilson House” on East 92nd Street, with its spacious porch and beautiful yard, was one of those few remaining homes in Canarsie. It kind of brought you back in time, to simpler days, a reminder of the days when Canarsie was a farming community and fishing village.
William R. Wilson was a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court who lived in the house with his wife, Lillian, and daughter, Edith Wilson, who lived there until her death in 1999 (she was 99 years old).
William R. Wilson was the son of John Marshall Wilson, Sr. (1847-1918). John M. Wilson was a Civil War veteran who spent his entire life in Canarsie except when he served in the war. Upon his return to Canarsie, he served as Justice of the Peace and as President of the Canarsie Board of Education. He died of pneumonia at the age of 71 and is buried in Canarsie Cemetery. In fact, his son, William, was instrumental in establishing a Civil War monument in the cemetery.
Judge John M. Wilson’s neighbors referred to him as “Canarsie’s Leading Citizen” and beloved Canarsie historian, John Denton, made mention of him several times in his “Little Old Canarsie” columns. The prominent Canarsien was so famous that he had a school and a playground named in his memory: I.S. 211 John Wilson, located at 1001 East 100th Street, and the adjoining Wilson Playground.
Descendants of Edith Wilson continued to live in the centuries-old home until it was sold for $1,325,000 last year.
On Saturday, February 19th, a bulldozer demolished the cherished Canarsie home, destroying over 100 years of Canarsie history. The property was purchased by KZ Developers. A call to the developers revealed their plans to build five, two-family homes on the property.
In the words of the late John Denton, so ends another tale of “Little Old Canarsie” and along with it remnants of bygone days.