An official Path Through History Site! The Naval Commandant's House, built 1806, the crown jewel of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, is visible behind a locked gate from Little Street in Vinegar Hill. The great Commandant Matthew C. Perry lived here in from 1841-43, ten years before he sailed to Japan and signed the famous treaty opening Japan to the West. All of the subsequent commanders of the Yard have lived here, and in 1905, another addition was added to the house by an unknown architect. The house overlooked the Navy Yard during the Civil and Spanish-American Wars, World Wars I and II. The activity during World War II made the Navy Yard one of the most important military installations in America. It was built between 1805 and 1806 and is purportedly the design of Boston's Charles Bulfinch. Bulfinch designed the U.S. Capitol Building as well as Faneuil Hall and the State House in Boston.