Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former stables, then church; parking garage, now apartments and restaurant
Address: 1177 Bedford Avenue
Cross Streets: Jefferson, Bedford and Nostrand avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: Unknown
Style: Stable — classic late Victorian; garage — Romanesque Revival
The story: Service buildings get little notice or regard in the world of architecture, unless they happen to be designed by famous architects, usually in addition to the Big House that stands nearby somewhere. We know who designed many of the carriage houses in Clinton Hill, for example, because they are in the architectural record along with the mansions they served. The Real Estate Record and Guide, a builder’s trade magazine that published from the 1850s until 1922, sometimes listed stables, garages and other service buildings; after all, they are still buildings, and represent work for suppliers, builders, laborers, and architects. But sometimes in researching these buildings, all you get is a whole lot of nothing. So you have to go to other sources.
1177 Bedford is actually two buildings, but they’ve been joined as one address, now, although half of it could be called 99 Jefferson Avenue. 1177-81 Bedford, which is actually on Bedford, was a stable. The 1886 map of Brooklyn shows two 100 foot wood framed buildings in this space, which would be a good indication that they were both stables back then.
The next available map I found was from 1907-8. It shows only one brick fronted building where the two wooden framed buildings were twenty years before, and it was a combination of wood and brick, which makes sense for a stable, and also corresponds to the façade of the building we see today. Throughout the years, the building has been a stable, storefronts, a church, and today, a restaurant, most appropriately called “The Stable House Bar & Café.” A new third story has also been added to the building.
Around the corner, on Jefferson Avenue, the much larger building attached to 1177 was built later. This building was built as a parking garage, and had one, probably two, elevators in the towers. It was a garage when I moved into the neighborhood in the 1980s, one of the few working buildings on that block. It remained a garage until it was converted to apartments in the 1990s. Even in the 1980s, when a tax photo was taken, this address was listed at 1177 Bedford.
A look at the maps for this building shows two empty lots in 1886, and a large brick building, in 1907-8. The style of the brickwork was popular in homes in the first decades of the early 20th century, so this could be the same building as in the map, although if I didn’t have the map, I would place it a couple years later, in the early ‘teens. When the buildings were attached, I was not able to establish.
So we’ve still got some mysteries here, but also some interesting buildings, especially the garage. The combined buildings now have 46 rental units. When one was offered for rent in 2011, the listing said “Clinton Hill.” Yeah, right. This is in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, both buildings remnants of the days when horses, carriages and cars got their own fine houses, too. GMAP