Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row houses
Address: 1187-1199 Bergen Street
Cross Streets: New York and Brooklyn Avenues
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: 1894
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival
Architect: Albert E. White
Other works by architect: many houses along Dean St, between Nostrand and Kingston, as well as elsewhere in CHN, and in Park Slope other later brownstone communities.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Phase I of CHN HD (2007)
The story: There are many fine groups of houses in Crown Heights North, in all different styles, by a lot of different architects, but this is the only group that looks like this. Albert E. White, the architect of this group, designed houses all over the district, helping to give the neighborhood a very distinct look. His work is some of the best in Crown Heights, but this may be his most unique work.
Albert E. White had his office in Brooklyn from at least 1890 through around 1905. This was at a crucial period in the development of neighborhoods like Bedford, which includes modern day Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, the St. Marks District, Stuyvesant Heights, Park Slope, and other later brownstone neighborhoods. Except for the slow-down during the Panic of ’93, real estate was booming, and speculative row houses for both one and two families were going up on almost every block.
White was one of the more prolific architects in Phase I of the Crown Heights North HD. He designed most of the houses in the beautiful block of Dean between Nostrand and New York Avenues, a block that has appeared on these pages often, with much admired, and pricey, housing stock. Those houses are all in the Romanesque Revival or Queen Anne style, with mixed rough cut stone and brick, with stained glass transoms, dog-leg stoops, and fanciful carved limestone ornament. That was pretty typical for White.
He designed the houses for developer John A. Bliss, a man he worked with often, who developed a lot of property in the area. The houses are in an ABCACBA pattern, which is quite visually pleasing, with the A style house appearing on both ends and in the middle of the group; their round bays, with the ball shaped balustrades, carrying the eye down the street. The houses utilize a combination of rough cut limestone, in various sized bands, alternating with limestone colored brick. All of them are joined by a continuous red Mediterranean tile roof, with gabled dormers. Some of the houses are in better shape than others, but the row still holds together and is largely intact. This is one of our finest groups of houses. GMAP