Building of the Day: 44 Court Street

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The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.

Address: 44 Court Street, corner of Joralemon Street
Name: Temple Bar Building
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1901
Architectural Style: Neo-Classical
Architect: George L. Morse
Landmarked: No

Why chosen:
This 13 story building was once the tallest in Brooklyn. Its three verdigris copper clad cupolas, with beautiful sculpted female faces, and distinctive cresting are among the highlights of Court Street’s skyscraper row. Sadly, the ground floor retail store alterations have obscured the beauty of the lower part of the building, but look up! Rows of lion’s head ring the building, bands of cornices, a balcony, and then there’s those cupolas. This is regarded as George L. Morse’s finest building. Most of his other work is in the Romanesque Revival style, including the Franklin Trust building on the corner of Montague and Clinton, newly made into condos (coincidentally, also a thread today). He also designed many other fine buildings in Brooklyn. The Temple Bar building was once a headquarters for the practice of law, hence the Bar. It was a very popular and much photographed monument and many period postcards remain featuring it. When built, it stood tall amongst much shorter buildings. Today, the restored beauty of the building is slowly emerging from its netting.

0 Comment

  • Is that a fountain in the last postcard?

  • Montrose, ask your friends at the Landmarks Commission why they have failed to designate this building.
    I hope the work we see is restorative. Who knows? The building is not protected, they could be doing anything to the facades.
    Why is the Commission hesitating on this?

  • MY friends? You know, I don’t know why there isn’t designation around here. Actually, I do know, I’m sure local big real estate has lobbied hard against it. These buildings are gorgeous, some better than a lot of Manhattan skyscrapers.

    Minard, we dead architects have a lot of work to do.

  • I thought the Brooklyn Heights Association was working on a ‘Downtown Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District’ along Court Street and some of the side streets going west. No?

    Pigeon, that’s the fountain in front of Borough Hall, which has been redesigned several times over the past 170 years. What’s there now just looks old, but it isn’t.

  • Montrose
    I am not resting in peace today.

  • Maybe some of us living folk have to kick some dead architects butts to get ’em up and working :-)

  • This is precisely the kind of loveliness that makes my teeth ache when presented with just about anything designed, developed and constructed today. Sigh.