Looking to Landmark Two Brooklyn Firehouses


Yesterday the Landmarks Preservation Commission held two public hearings on Brooklyn firehouses proposed for landmark designation. No vote was held. The buildings in question are Engine Company 28 (pictured left) at 436 39th Street and Engine Company 40 (pictured right) at 1307-1309 Prospect Avenue. Engine Company 28 is a Romanesque Revival style firehouse built in Sunset Park in 1890. As the LPC says, the “stone and brick facade, large, round-arched openings and decorative moldings provide a distinctive presence on the busy streets of Sunset Park that began to be developed with commercial and residential buildings in the 1890s.” Engine Company 40 was built in 1895 during a campaign by the Brooklyn Fire Commissioner to replace the old firehouses with modern, up-to-date buildings. The Romanesque Revival building has a limestone and brick facade featuring an asymmetrical design. Check out the full LPC writeup for both firehouses after the jump.
Firehouse, Engine Company 28 (now Engine Company 228)
436 39th Street, Borough of Brooklyn
Block 709/ Lot 19
Built: 1891
Architect: Department of City Works
Original Owner: Brooklyn Fire Department
Style: Romanesque Revival

Firehouse, Engine Company 28 (now Engine 228) was organized in 1890 in response to the growing population and number of buildings in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn. First located in rented quarters at 945 4th Avenue, Engine Company 28 formally moved into their newly erected firehouse in December, 1891. The Brooklyn Fire Department was established as a paid department in 1869 until consolidation with the City of New York in 1898. Under the reorganization at that time this house was renamed number 128 and during a later reorganization it became Engine 228, which it has remained until today. This strong Romanesque Revival style building, with stone and brick facade, large, round-arched openings and decorative moldings, provides a distinctive presence on the busy streets of Sunset Park that began to be developed with commercial and residential buildings in the 1890s. The existence of this firehouse continues to provide a strong civic presence in this section of Brooklyn.

Firehouse, Engine Company 40/ Hook and Ladder Company 21
(now Engine Company 240, Battalion 48)
1307-1309 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn
Block 5285/ Lot 21
Built: 1895
Architect: Peter J. Lauritzen
Original Owner: Brooklyn Fire department
Style: Romanesque Revival

The Firehouse for Engine Company 40/ Hook and Ladder Company 21 was built in 1895 as part of a campaign by Brooklyn Fire Commissioner Frederick W. Wurster to replace the old firehouses housing the volunteer fire companies in Brooklyn’s recently annexed districts with new up-to-date buildings suitable for modern equipment and full-time paid professional staff. It is one of eight firehouses that the noted Danish-immigrant architect Peter Lauritzen designed for the Brooklyn Fire Department between 1894 and 1897 and is his finest in the Romanesque Revival Style, a style favored for Brooklyn firehouses of the period and one in which Lauritzen was particularly at home. The building’s imposing limestone and brick façade features an asymmetrical design, with a rusticated ground story, round corner turret richly decorated with Romanesque motifs, a round arched window set off by a drip molding with label stops, a flat-arched double-window flanked by colonettes, an elaborate arched cornice, and an asymmetric parapet. The quality of the building’s materials, workmanship, and details distinguished it from the residential and commercial buildings in the neighborhood and were intended to create a sense of civic pride. Engine Company 40, now Engine Company 240, has been housed in its present building and has served the Windsor Terrace neighborhood with distinction for over a century. Since 1978, the building has also been home to Battalion 48, which oversees Fire Department units within Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Borough Park.