Building of the Day: 96-110 Lincoln Place

Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row houses
Address: 96-110 Lincoln Place
Cross Streets: Sixth and Seventh Avenues
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1888-89
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival/Queen Anne
Architect: Frederick B. Langston
Other Work by Architect: Houses on Hancock Street and other streets in Bedford Stuyvesant and Stuyvesant Heights, also Park Slope and Crown Heights North. With Magnus Dahlander, same, plus Antioch Church, Greene Avenue, Bedford Stuyvesant.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Park Slope HD (1973)

The story: There is something very majestic about this group of houses. Some might say “ponderous,” but I really like the sturdy, rough cut stone and castle-like materials and styling of the Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne styles. With only a couple of exceptions, the rest of this block was built ten to fifteen years earlier, when the styles de jour were the Italianate and Neo-Grec, so the contrast between the smooth, relatively flat surfaces of those houses and the very textural massing of these makes for an interesting streetscape.

This group of eight houses is large enough to make a presence. They were built for local developer James A. Bills. The architect was Frederick B. Langston. Langston practiced from about 1889 to 1896 and perhaps longer, specializing in the Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne styles. He partnered with Magnus Dahlander for a year, between 1891 and 1892, during which time they designed some of the finest late 19th century row houses and flats buildings around. Their styles meshed so well, it’s hard to tell who was responsible for what.

But when he was on his own, Langston was no slouch. These houses have a lot of great details going for them. The L-shaped stoop leads to a large Richardsonian Romanesque arched window, a Langston & Dahlander specialty. The rough cut brownstone rises to just under the second story window, with handsome voussoirs and lintels throughout. Langston varies the stone and brick colors, giving each house an individual look. Above, the third and fourth floors sport pressed metal covered oriels, which are decorated with swags, caryatids and other classically inspired details. Handsome pressed metal cornices top the houses off.

Park Slope was developing as one of Brooklyn’s premiere neighborhoods at this time, so these houses were the homes of quite well-to-do people. A quick check of all of the addresses in the group in the Brooklyn Eagle shows searches for servants, church events and social parties such as euchre clubs (a card game). Frank Montgomery Avery, a wealthy lawyer and early member of the Montauk Club, lived at 108 Lincoln Place. His house was home to his valuable art collection and library. GMAP

Photo: Kate Leonova for Property Shark

13 Comment

  • These are my neighbors. All of them have had to spend major bucks to refurbish those stoops because of spalling & water leaks. They have to be almost completely demolished & then rebuilt. But they are beautiful.

  • Is that any more true for these than for the typical brownstone stoop? Because we, and others around, had to have the brownstone ones pretty much rebuilt, too.

    I always liked these, especially the upper stories. My problem with the parlor floor is that the front room seems to get less light with the one arched window than with multiple windows, or with one wider window (though I see why the window isn’t wider, to be in keeping wtih the buildings’ proportions

    I’d have designed them with a Romaneque arch (which I like) over the doors, and a rectangular window area for more light let in, and more glass to look out of. (Yes, apparently I have the ego to critique the masters…)

    Also, the stoops seem more imposing from the sidewalk than even other L-shaped stoops. Perhaps it is the rought-cut stone (which I also like), though it likely is also the high wall of the stoop next to the sidewalk, as these ground floors seem to be mostly above ground, resulting in a really high stoop.

  • I was obsessed with these houses when I first started hunting for a place in Park Slope. A couple of them had been for sale but were taken off the market before I started looking, only to be re-listed at much lower prices after I had already found a place. Oh well. Park Slope doesn’t have very many long Romanesque rows, and this is one is great.

    BTW, MM, was that “ponderous” a nod to a recent comment you may have read? Also, I emailed you recently, but from my new email account. Not sure if you got the message (it could be in your spam folder). If not, let me know and I’ll resend.

  • I had my straight stoop redone & it was a lot smaller project than these. I don’t know the proper terms but that wall up the stairs adjacent to the sidewalk had to be taken apart & rebuilt for a start. It looked to me, too, as if there were a different method of construction to the first flight of steps than is common w/ most stoop stairs – dirt infill of some kind. One of the houses had to do it twice because the first contractor didn’t know what he was doing & his work only lasted about a year.

  • Langston even worked with Amzi Hill sometimes (row of homes on MacDonough St btwn Throop and Sumner). Langston a Brooklyn boy graduated from college maybe a year before he built these and already had his own firm. He came from money so I guess it was not hard for him. He has been very hard to research. Amzi Hill also used the same metal work on his Bedford Stuyvesant building which I am sure Langston probably drafted while he interned for him…

  • MM, this is my all-time favorite block in Park Slope (emphasis on SLOPE, well, HILL, really, more like a MOUNTAIN, well, call it what you will, but I require supplemental oxygen when climbing up from 5th Avenue).

    I gather you were on the block and didn’t call??? Yes, yes, I know, you’ll claim someone else took the pictures. Whatever.

  • These houses look ungainly to me somehow – the front door seems too short, the arched window too narrow, the stone too abruptly ending with the straight line. From the side they look great, but from the front the pieces don’t mesh right for me –

  • This “massing” of Romanesque Revival houses makes much more of a statement than a single example. I actually find these houses to be more handsome when experienced from the sidewalk. The contrast of the rough cut stone and brick isn’t the finest example of this style, however. The best of the form typically have much more drama and one can expect to see a varied roof line and more flourishes on the facade. Of course, as these houses were built for the sort of people who belonged to the Montauk Club, flourishes and drama may have been the antithesis of what they wanted. They may very well have been solid and reserved, much like these houses. There is something about a facade that doesn’t reveal too much that makes me wonder even more what the interior may look like.

  • I’ve always liked these buildings as well. There’s also an interesting group of Romanesque Revival apartment buildings behind these buildings, on Berkeley Place. The Park Slope historic district designation report says the architect was CPH Gilbert, but I’m skeptical. Do you know anything about them, MM?