There's a fascinating obituary about architectural historian Charles Lockwood in the NY Times today. Lockwood, who passed away last week at age 63 from cancer, wrote several books about architecture, but he is best known for Bricks and Brownstone: The New York Row House, 1783-1929. It turns out he wrote the book because a New York Public Library librarian told him in 1969, when he was a Princeton student, that there were no books about brownstones, "We don’t have one. It’s never been written."
The Times writes, "Mr. Lockwood was not the first to rediscover their beauty and importance, but he and the photographer Robert Mayer documented them in exceptional detail. Mr. Lockwood placed the houses in historical context and sorted them by style and era, explaining how architectural features can give away a building’s provenance. In the Dec. 1, 2003, issue of The New Yorker, Judith Thurman called 'Bricks and Brownstone” a 'bible for buffs, architects and preservationists.'"
And the other interesting fact: "While preparing the thesis, he and Mr. Mayer happened to be on West 11th Street on March 6, 1970, photographing a Greek Revival doorway, when a tremendous explosion tore through a nearby house that had been covertly turned into a bomb factory by the radical Weathermen group. They took a picture of the burning building that was published the next day on Page 1 of The New York Times."