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The Murder that Gave Lincoln Place its Name

And no, it wasn’t the murder of Abraham Lincoln. Ephemeral New York dug up an interesting bit of history, explaining the reason why Degraw Street suddenly becomes Lincoln Place on the east side of Fifth Avenue.

In March of 1873, 41-year old Charles Goodrich was discovered dead inside his house at 731 Degraw Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. He had been shot three times, and his body was cleaned of all blood. The case made citywide headlines, and investigators soon learned that he shared the house with a young lady who he was frequently seen with, so they set about tracking her down.

They searched for the woman, a 20-something Massachusetts native named Kate Stoddard, for months, and she was finally captured after Goodrich’s ex-roommate spotted her on the Fulton Ferry. She confessed after detectives found some of his personal items in her High Street boarding house room. She also gave them her true name: Lizzie Lloyd King, and told the investigators that she had met Goodrich via personal ad and that they were married.

Turns out that Goodrich wanted to leave her for another woman, and that the wedding was actually officiated by a doctor, Goodrich's friend, as opposed to a minister. An argument ensued, and King murdered him. She spent the rest of her life in an upstate insane asylum.

The block’s residents were, needless to say, horrified to be associated with the crime, so they petitioned successfully to have the street renamed in honor of the recently fallen President.  

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Reader Comments (17)

I thought a lot of those streets change name below 5th. Did this happen frequently back then?

What a stupid reason to change a street name.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave from PS

and now you know.....

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFluffle Flicker

And Lincoln was the name that they gave me...

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFelton

And here I thought it was named after the jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin

So then why does Sackett become Berkeley after 5th ave?

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPSBK

@PSBK North Slope obnoxiousness goes back a very long way.

Sackett west of Fifth Ave was renamed Berkeley Pl. after the Irish philosopher/theologian George Berkeley (as was the city in CA) who was one of the 18th centuries leading British empiricists.

In 1881 as the North Slope was gentrifying residents wanted a more refined name with more cachet and successfully petitioned for the name change.

Ironically while the name Berkeley has been Americanized so that its pronounced as it is today, George Berkeley actually pronounced his name "Barkley"- similar to the stadium just down the st.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Cool story, and different too. Nice change from the "going to open soon" and "the store that was going to open soon is now open" postings. LOL

Love these types of stories, thanks Dan

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterParkSlopePerson

...the rest of the story.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFluffle Flicker

So, why do they call 5th street 5th street? :-P

Very interesting

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharles in Charge

There was grizzly murder going on on every block in the North Slope back then, which is why all the street names down to Union were changed.

That's how we used to roll up in the North Slope.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSLOPE WARZ

Ephemeral New York is a great website! So why is St. Johns different than Degraw? Just the church, I'm assuming, and no grisly murders.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindie

A murder gave Garfield Place its name also. It used to be Macomb Street and was renamed in honor of President Garfield when he was assassinated.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlf

Ah murder...the cause of...and answer to...all of life's problems.

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermattlaw74

FACT: PIdgeous Park bludgeoned Stanislav Baltic with an iron baby carriage in 1873, thereby winning control of the street name from 5th avenue up.

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSLOPE WARZ

I beleive it was Colonel Mustard with a lead pipe in the Barclays Center that started the whole thing

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin

Cool story, Bro. Can you tell me another?

May 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterslopeadope

If you are interested in the history of Brooklyn street and place names, please feel free to check out the book Brooklyn By Name: How the Streets, Neighborhoods, Parks, Bridges and More Got Their Names. It's available at public libraries, Community Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Book Court etc.
Jennifer (co-author of Brooklyn By Name)

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Weiss

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