Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Built as the Skene Sanitarium, now apartments
Address: 759 President Street
Cross Streets: 6th and 7th avenues
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1884, with addition added in 1902, and another in the 1930s
Architect: Original architect — R. B. Eastman, others unknown
Other Buildings by Architect: Hospitals and other public buildings in Brooklyn and Vermont
Landmarked: No, but in proposed expansion district for the Park Slope HD
The story: Alexander J. C. Skene was the descendant of Scottish lairds. His family story extended far back into Scotland’s history and included participation in many famous battles and encounters with historical figures. But young Alexander wanted to expand his horizons beyond the Highlands, and came to the United States at the age of 19 to further his education and to study medicine. He enrolled in the University of Michigan and completed his medical studies at the Long Island School of Medicine in 1863. The Civil War was raging on at the time, and Dr. Skene enlisted and served as a doctor for the Union Army, seeing the aftermath of some of the worst battles in the war.
After the war, he returned to Brooklyn, and became an adjunct professor at LICH. He soon gained great renown for his skills as a diagnostician. The horrors of war may have influenced his move into the relatively new field of gynecology and women’s medicine, and by the 1880s, he was one of the most influential doctors in the field. (more…)