Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row houses
Address: 855-861 Carroll Street
Cross Streets: Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1892
Architectural Style: Italian Renaissance Revival
Architect: Stanley M. Holden
Other Buildings by Architect: A few other Brooklyn buildings
Landmarked: Yes, part of Park Slope HD (1973)
The story: What a great set of buildings this is! The golden bricks and the Mediterranean details help make this set of four houses a series of Italian palazzi on Carroll Street, Brooklyn. Perhaps what is most amazing about these houses is that they were not designed by one of the architectural big names that pepper this block, but by a guy named Stanley M. Holden, who designed the buildings for Allan Brothers and Company, which had offices in the Arbuckle Building in downtown Brooklyn.
So who is Stanley M. Holden? I’m afraid there is not a lot of information. He was born in upstate Rome in 1860, and grew up and was educated in Utica. His father had a monument company. He moved to New York City, where he received his architectural education, and he started out as a contractor. He married his cousin Alice Holden, and they moved to Paterson, NJ. As a contractor and builder, he worked steadily around the city, and eventually was able to open an architecture practice. He’s mentioned in regards to several buildings in Brooklyn.
Sometime in 1899, he was involved in a foreclosure, and perhaps at that time he decided to leave the city. The family moved to Dublin, Ga., where Holden was once again employed as an architect and contractor. While working on a project there, he contracted typhoid fever. After being sick for almost a month, in December of 1905, Stanley Holden died.
These houses may be his greatest legacy, and if you have to go out with only one set of great buildings on a great block, this ain’t bad at all. He certainly holds his own among Brooklyn’s finest architects. The houses show a great deal of imagination and detail. The obvious stuff is there, ABAB pattern, the Mediterranean details, the arched windows, the ornamentation in beautiful stained glass and carved ornament, the pillars and other classical details. There’s also a lot of really good brick design and work, especially in the perfection of the arches over all of the doors and parlor floor windows. Holden did good work.
The houses were sold to well to do people, all of whom were on the Social Register and spent their summers at their homes out on Long Island or upstate. From the papers, it doesn’t look like there was too much turnaround in the homes well into the 1920s, and all of the want ads are for servants, not tenants. At one point in 1897, 857 was advertised for rent in the Eagle. The entire house, which the ad said was an “artistic dwelling with beautiful decorations”, was for lease for $1,200. That was for the entire year, by the way. GMAP