Ash Avenue moves through Flushing in fits and starts. It goes a block, is interrupted for a block, then runs a block more. The section between 147th and 149th Streets, though, looks transplanted from another part of town into Flushing. Its centerpiece is a brilliant white three-story building at 147-38 with a complicated set of front porches, including a many-windowed circular corner porch. The house was originally the Charles Pearl Mansion.
The mansion, probably built in the mid-1800s, dates back to eastern Flushing’s development as a bedroom community as the Long Island Rail Road was extended east. At the time Flushing was still dominated by the horticultural industry and the land was owned mostly by the Samuel Parsons family and by Nathan Sanford, the Chancellor of New York State. Sanford Avenue was developed in the 1830s-1870s with grand mansions and estates, some of which were summer-only. Charles Pearl built the Italianate house on a 5-acre tract facing today’s Sanford Avenue and 149th Street. Beginning in the 1880s Flushing began to be more greatly populated, and by the 1910s the mansion’s then-owner, the reverend George Eccles, sold off much of the 5-acre property and moved the house approximately 150 feet to its present location. The buildings developed on the sold-off property are still there for the most part, giving Ash Avenue an aura rather unlike its surrounding blocks.
Though the Eccles family occupied the building for most of the 1930s, it gradually fell into disrepair and was a boarding house for a time. Building contractor Matthew Kabriski, who had worked in the White House during the Truman administration, purchased the home for $12,500 in 1954 and set to work restoring its clapboards and repainted and restored the old house. The interior boasts oak and pine floors, marble sinks, and floor to ceiling windows.