Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former Grace Church Reading Room, now co-op apartments
Address: 62 Joralemon Street
Cross Streets: Hicks and Willow Place
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights
Year Built: 1895
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Washington Hull and James Hewlett of Lord, Hewlett & Hull
Other Buildings by Architect: William Clark mansion, Manhattan (demolished), 70th Precinct in Kensington, mausoleums in Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx, and several suburban mansions.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Brooklyn Heights Historic District (1966)
The story: This morning, in my Walkabout column, I began the story of the life and career of Washington Hull, one of Brooklyn’s many forgotten architects. He didn’t design very much in Brooklyn, but he was a part of the large architectural community that was quite busy at the turn of the 20th century. One of his few Brooklyn buildings was this Reading Room, designed for Grace Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Heights. It was designed by Hull, along with one of his partners, James M. Hewlett, of Lord, Hewlett & Hull. The three principles of the company had all worked together at McKim, Mead & White when they decided they had the experience and talent to go out on their own. This was one of their first commissions.
James Hewlett and Washington Hull were both from Brooklyn, and were cheered by the press as representing the borough in the high stakes game of big time architecture. They, along with Austin Lord, were coming down from a second place win in an important competition to design the new Philadelphia Museum of Art. They came back to Brooklyn with a $3,000 consolation prize, and were awarded the design for the Reading Room. (more…)