Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former private house, then club house, now church
Address: 295 Gates Avenue
Cross Streets: Franklin and Bedford Avenues
Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant
Year Built: 1869-1870? Perhaps altered or replaced later
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Architect: Possibly Amzi Hill
Other Buildings by Architect: Row houses, mansions, flats buildings and tenements throughout Bedford Stuyvesant and Stuyvesant Heights. Also in Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope
The story: There used to be many more large mansions in Bedford Stuyvesant. If you walk or drive around the neighborhood, it’s possible to come across one or two on a block you never would have thought they’d be on. Many of them just didn’t survive the economic changes, and many of those that did are merely shadows of their former selves. They’ve been chopped up, covered up, covered over and made into lodges, schools and most often, churches.
Gates Avenue was once one of central Bedford Stuyvesant’s premier streets. It’s a long street, stretching from Clinton Hill to Bushwick, and was once home to some very successful and wealthy people, the most successful being John Gibb, whose enormous mansion is just down the street. When Gibb had his house built here, other wealthy people followed, moving into superior speculative housing, much of it developed by Mr. Gibb himself. Other people had houses built themselves.
That appears to have been the case for this house, which was built for Captain Frederick Bolton Langston, a wealthy ship captain. Amzi Hill, who designed many of the earlier houses in this neighborhood, as well as the Gibb mansion, may have designed this house.The house looks more Queen Ann than Italianate, the prevailing style of the day, so perhaps it was added on to in the 1880s, or replaced by an new facade. The records are not forthcoming, although the papers do emphasize that the Captain moved to this address in 1870. (more…)