In the nineteenth century, Ridgewood was characterized by farmlands and several amusement parks. However, with transportation developments, namely the electric trolley in 1894, the area experienced rapid development at the end of the nineteenth century. The majority of new residents moving to Ridgewood were German Americans who sought relief from the over-crowded Lower East Side and parts of Bushwick and Williamsburg.
The district contains structures built between 1908 and 1911, with the majority constructed by the G.X. Mathews Company. The row houses constructed by Mathews Co., known as the “Mathews Model Flats,” employed innovative designs in order to improve both sanitation and the quality of life for its residents. The model flats were built on wider lots, larger air-shafts separated the buildings, and the buildings accommodated only two families per floor. Aesthetically, the buildings feature yellow and burnt-orange brick facades and Romanesque and Renaissance Revival style details, such as round and segmental arches.
This district's tenements are significant not only for their high level of architectural integrity, but also as representatives of the development and evolution of housing in New York City. ©2014