Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Originally Rogers Memorial Building for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), now Retrofret Vintage Guitars, and musical instruments repair shops
Address: 233-237 Butler Street
Cross Streets: Nevins and Bond Streets
Year Built: 1913
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: Renwick, Aspinwall & Tucker
Other Buildings by Architect: American Express Building at 65 Bway, Grace Church Neighborhood House, 4th Ave, Provident Loan Building, 25th St., all Manhattan.
The story: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in Manhattan in 1866. It was established by Henry Bergh, and is the oldest animal protection society in the Western Hemisphere. Bergh believed that animals were entitled to respectful and kind treatment at the hands of people, and had to be protected under the law from those who acted differently. His initial efforts were in protecting horses from abuse, as well as trying to reform slaughterhouses and stop cock fighting. His cause was soon taken up by many. Only nine days after officially announcing his organization, Bergh was able to get the first anti-cruelty laws passed by the City.
The laws enabled the ASPCA to enforce those anti-cruelty laws, and with only a staff of three, the organization set out to do so, concentrating at first on those who abused horses and livestock. In 1867, they had special ambulance wagons for aiding and rescuing horses on the city streets, and also for rescuing cats, dogs and pigeons. By the time Henry Bergh died in 1888, 37 of the 38 states in the Union had ASPCA chapters and anti-cruelty laws on the books. (more…)