By Jed I. Knight
A house at the end of Pearl Street in Brownsville was slated for demolition in early spring. When local residents heard about the historic house’s impending doom they took to the internet and contacted the State Historic Preservation Office, then started a petition to designate it as a national landmark. Their wish was granted on Friday as the Pearl Street Crackhouse was named a national historic landmark.
“Back in the day when the steel industry shut down Brownsville fell on hard times. We was supposed to be as big as Pittsburgh was, but then nobody could find jobs so we all just started making crack,” said Pokey Furlong, the man who spearheaded the campaign to save the house.
“A crackhouse is an abandoned house that you sneak into, then you take your cocaine and make yourself some crack,” Furlong added. “You smoke it and sell it out of there long enough and everyone just starts thinking you live there. And this was the first of its kind in the nation. We got the first crack pipe in there. The first ever overdose happened in the bathroom. You tear down this house, you tear down the history of Brownsville.”