Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally Galen Hall Office Building, now apartments and offices
Address: 184 Joralemon Street
Cross Streets: Court and Clinton Streets
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1909-1911
Architectural Style: Beaux-Arts with Colonial Revival details
Architect: George Keister
Other Buildings by Architect: Apollo Theater, Harlem. Also Belasco and Selwyn Theaters, Theater District. Row houses in the Bronx, tenement buildings, apartment buildings, hotels, churches.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Skyscraper District (2012)
The story: Claudius Galenus, or Galen of Pergamon, was a prominent Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher in the second century Roman Empire. He and the better-known Hippocrates are considered to be the most important contributors to modern Western medicine. (Yes, I had to look that one up.) The use of the name “Galen” was quite popular during Victorian times, especially to name sanatoria and other medical retreat centers. One of the most popular in the New York City area was the Galen Hall in Atlantic City. Their facilities would be considered a health spa today, and they advertised constantly in the Brooklyn Eagle for decades.
So when a twelve floor office tower exclusively for doctors and medical professionals was proposed for Downtown Brooklyn, it was fitting that it should be called Galen Hall, or the Galen Hall Office Building. The tall and narrow building was placed on a 25 foot wide Joralemon Street lot, right next door to the Packer Institute. The building ran tall and deep, with plenty of room for doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals. (more…)