185 E. 19th St. NS, PS. 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Fourth Unitarian Church, now Unity East Church Center
Address: 185 East 19th Street
Cross Streets: Corner of Beverley Road
Neighborhood: Ditmas Park
Year Built: 1906
Architectural Style: English Arts and Crafts
Architect: W. Leslie Walker
Other Work by Architect: Unitarian Church, Montclair Women’s Club and suburban mansions in Montclair, N.J.
Landmarked: No

The story: Grosvenor Atterbury an important early 20th century architect, with projects in the city and the wealthy surrounding suburbs. His career stretched from the mid 1890s until the early 1950s. During his most prolific period during the first two decades of the century, his firm was fielding over 1300 projects at a time. They designed entire neighborhoods, such as the Forest Hills Gardens development for philanthropist Mrs. Russell Sage. Atterbury and his firm were also known for their large, lavish suburban homes which were designed for the tony new suburbs becoming popular for the banker and CEO set. They designed homes in Westchester County, Long Island and towns like Montclair, N.J. One of the associates in the firm at this busy time was W. Leslie Walker.

Walker and Atterbury designed several projects together during their association, most of which were in Montclair. Both men also shared an interest in affordable housing, and considered themselves city planners, as well as architects. They worked together on several model towns for the workers in several industries and planned affordable homes that could be built anywhere. Walker lived in Montclair and was asked to design private homes, as well as public buildings. He designed the Montclair Women’s Club, several beautiful suburban mansions, and the Unity Chapel for Montclair’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation. And that’s how this ties into Ditmas Park. (more…)

1505 Albemarle Rd. SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Henry P. Reid House
Address: 1505 Albemarle Road
Cross Streets: Corner Marlborough Road
Neighborhood: Prospect Park South
Year Built: 1904
Architectural Style: Queen Anne with Medieval/Tudor details
Architect: John J. Petit
Other Buildings by Architect: 1510 Albemarle, 1519 Albemarle, 131 Buckingham, and many more in PPS
Landmarked: Yes, part of PPS HD (1979)

The story: This Queen Anne house is one of my favorites in Prospect Park South, a neighborhood with an abundant wealth of large and impressive houses. At over 3700 square feet, this is a lot of house. Part of me would love to have this kind of room, and would love every inch of spacious period goodness that I pray is in there. The other part of me runs screaming at the thought of proper upkeep, heating costs, and trying to keep a behemoth like this clean. It’s probably just as well that my admiration will be from afar. And there is a lot to admire. John J. Petit designed this home to be an anchor for the intersection of Marlborough and Albemarle Roads, one of the more impressive street corners in Dean Alvord’s upper class enclave. (more…)

245 westminster road ditmas park 92014

Up for sale in the Beverly Square West section of Victorian Flatbush is this freestanding turn of the century Dutch Colonial-style house. It looks to us like the interiors could use a little polishing up, although the listing says it’s has been “wonderfully maintained.” In addition to five bedrooms and three baths, it also has a big back yard and a garage. There is also a terrace and tons of closets. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,200,000?

245 Westminster Road [Halstead] GMAP

330 east 18th street ditmas park 92014

This circa-1900 freestanding shingle house in the Beverly Square East area of Victorian Flatbush seems to have all its original details but will need at least some cosmetic work, going by the photos. There is a huge wraparound porch, several bay windows, leaded glass, mahogany and other exotic woods, a seat with storage built into the stair in the entry, eight bedrooms, an en suite shaving closet, and front and back stairs. There is also a two-car garage. What do you think of it and the ask of $1,495,000?

330 East 18th Street [Corcoran] GMAP

1512 Beverley Rd, BevRd Subway station, SSPellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Here is a completely re-worked edition on a previously covered building.

Name: Beverley Road BMT Subway Station
Address: 1512 Beverley Road
Cross Streets: Marlborough Road and East 16th Street
Neighborhood: Beverley Square West
Year Built: 1907, with extensive restoration in the 1990s
Architectural Style: Mission/Spanish Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No, but on the list of the National Register of Historic Places (2004)

The story: I wish my subway stop had looked like this. This Spanish Mission train station always makes me think that, for just a couple of minutes, I’m not in New York City. That is until you hear people complaining, and then you get shoved around on or off the train. Oh yeah, I’m definitely still in New York. (more…)

315 marlborough road ditmas park 62014

Here’s a lovely five-bedroom, three-bedroom house for rent in the Beverly Square East part of Victorian Flatbush. The three-story house doesn’t have a ton of original details, but we do see wooden moldings around the doorways, inlaid wooden floors and a stained glass window in one of the bedrooms. (Our listing doesn’t have photos, but Corcoran’s does.)

The owners have done an interesting, somewhat modern kitchen renovation with stainless steel appliances and a breakfast bar. The basement is finished with a studio and playroom, and there’s a driveway in front of the house. Rent is $8,000 a month. Do you think it’s worth that much?

315 Marlborough Road [Corcoran] GMAP

1306 Albemarle Rd. BeyondMyKen for Wiki 2

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally the John S. Eakins house
Address: 1306 Albemarle Road
Cross Streets: Corner Argyle Road
Neighborhood: Prospect Park South
Year Built: 1905
Architectural Style: Shingle Style Queen Anne/Colonial Revival
Architect: John J. Petit
Other buildings by architect: Many other houses in Prospect Park South, including 131 Buckingham, aka “the Japanese House.” On Albemarle Road alone: 1203, 1423, 1501, 1510, 1519, and 1522 (no longer standing)
Landmarked: Yes, part of Prospect Park South HD (1981)

The story: Prospect Park South is a neighborhood with one outstanding house placed next to another, so to use too many superlatives in describing them sounds almost redundant, but let me just say that this one is still one of the best of the best. Like many of “the best” in the area, it was designed by John J. Petit, who was the chief architect of Prospect Park South, developer Dean Alvord’s exclusive suburban enclave, begun in the last year of the 19th century. Petit was an inventive master of mixing styles, materials and ideas together to produce buildings that are almost impossible to characterize, but are always quite good.

This grand home is in the Victorian Queen Anne style, with a masterful massing of shapes and building materials. Yet Petit also incorporates many features of the newly popular Colonial Revival style both outside and inside, making the house a hybrid of both styles. It’s typical Petit. The wraparound porch is one of the longest, if not the longest, in the neighborhood, and the shingled turret on the side of the house helps anchor the house to this prime corner. In fact, Petit’s use of the plot itself is one of the greatest features of the house. The exact same house placed in a midblock lot would have still been impressive, but here, on the corner, it is simply magnificent. (more…)

304 Marlborough Rd. KL, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Thomas Benton Ackerson House
Address: 304 Marlborough Road
Cross Streets: Beverley and Cortelyou Roads
Neighborhood: Beverly Square West/Ditmas Park
Year Built: 1903
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Unknown, perhaps Benjamin Dreisler
Other works by architect: Many other houses in Victorian Flatbush
Landmarked: No, but part of a proposed Beverley Square West Historic District

The story: During the last decade of the 19th century, the old farmsteads owned by some of Brooklyn’s oldest Dutch families began disappearing one by one, bought by canny land developers who planned some of Long Island’s first commuter suburbs. Flatbush was the Promised Land, according to these visionaries, where a man could live with his family in a large house on a comfortably sized lot, surrounded by like-minded and amenable people, in a “country house in the city.” Most importantly, he could have the best of suburban life, while still able to commute to Manhattan or Downtown Brooklyn in less than an hour by a train located only blocks from his house. Who could ask for more?

It was a good plan. Flatbush was large, with room for many of these suburban neighborhoods, and by 1910, there were at least twelve separate named developments, creating the largest concentration of free-standing, so-called “Victorian” houses in the entire country. While some developers had only the time, energy and money to develop one neighborhood, which was certainly a task unto itself, one man managed to develop three. His name was Thomas Benton Ackerson, “T.B.” to everyone. Beverly Square West was one of his developments, and this house in Beverley Square West was his home. (more…)

759 E.17th St. Carl Forster, LPC 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Private House
Address: 759 East 17th Street
Cross Streets: Glenwood Road and Avenue H
Neighborhood: Fiske Terrace
Year Built: 1906
Architectural Style: Dutch Colonial Revival
Architect: A. White Pierce
Other works by architect: Many houses in Victorian Flatbush, also row of Arts and Crafts cottages on Prospect Place in Crown Heights North
Landmarked: Yes, part of Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park HD (2008)

The story: If the Dutch Colonial Revival style with a gambrel roof and flaring eaves is attractive, then why not up the attractiveness and have four gambrel roofs? You can’t over do a good thing, right? Surely this thought went through A. White Pierce’s head as he designed this delightful, yet immense house in the Fiske Terrace neighborhood, a part of the suburban enclaves we lump together as Victorian Flatbush.

All of the distinct neighborhoods that make up Victorian Flatbush have separate histories, but they do share many similarities. They were all the products of visionary developers who were trying to sell a suburban dream to their clients: a new neighborhood that was far from the crowded brownstone streets of Brooklyn or Manhattan, but not so far that it wasn’t part of the city, easily accessible by train or trolley car. These new neighborhoods were full of large homes with spacious lawns, and people like them – the elite who were screened by income and shared values, and often by religion and race.

Fiske Terrace was developed by husband and wife, George and Elizabeth Fiske, later joined by his brother Frederick. The Fiske brothers were wealthy, the sons of a stockbroker. Before going into the home development business, George was in the oil business and Frederick was a successful Brooklyn Heights merchant. George and Elizabeth moved from their home on Montague Street to Tennis Court, in Flatbush, the first of the planned suburban communities in Flatbush, near Prospect Park. George had just bought three pieces of prime property south of Tennis Court from the Van Pelt and Ditmas families, and by 1898, was talking to reporters about “Fiske Terrace,” the new development he was going to build on his rather considerable acreage. (more…)

802 E 16th, Ave H Station,Harrison Leong for wiki

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally T.B. Ackerson RE office, now Avenue H Station House
Address: 802 East 16th Street
Cross Streets: Avenue H
Neighborhood: Fiske Terrace in Victorian Flatbush
Year Built: 1905
Architectural Style: Vernacular Shingle Style cottage
Architect: Unknown, could have been someone with the initials “R.H.B.”
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (2004)

The story: One of the great things about our huge transit system is that there is such variety in the stations that make up our subway systems. We’ve got recreated Beaux-Arts glass and steel canopies, old wooden elevated stations, elegant Heins & LaFarge masterpieces, stations that resemble European train stations, as well as the hundreds of plain old stairways leading underground. And then we’ve got a couple of country stations in neighborhoods that don’t match most people’s idea of New York City, or even Brooklyn. One of these is at the Avenue H stop in Fiske Terrace.

This station is the only MTA station that has been adapted to transit use from a structure used for another function. It is one of the few remaining wooded structures in the system, and also one of the few to be landmarked. It’s also the only surviving station from Brooklyn’s days of surface train transportation, when independent lines crisscrossed the city, before the underground tracks were built. It’s pretty unique, and we almost lost it. (more…)

1511 Albemarle Rd.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Private house
Address: 1511 Albemarle Road
Cross Streets: Marlborough and Buckingham Roads
Neighborhood: Prospect Park South
Year Built: 1899
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Frank Freeman
Other works by architect: Eagle Warehouse in Dumbo, Fire Headquarters Building Downtown Brooklyn, Behr Mansion and Crescent Athletic Club (now St. Ann’s School) in Brooklyn Heights
Landmarked: Yes, part of Prospect Park South HD (1979)

The story: Canadian-born architect Frank Freeman is considered by architectural historians to be one of Brooklyn’s finest. Unfortunately, many of his exceptional buildings have been destroyed over the years, so it’s great that we have one more to add to the list of buildings in Brooklyn, that still are with us. Freeman was the one of the late 19th century architects who shaped the face of commercial and civic Brooklyn; his Eagle Warehouse, Fire Headquarters Building, Brooklyn Savings Bank, Margaret Hotel, Crescent Athletic Club, and Bushwick Democratic Club were all contributing factors in the look of the City of Brooklyn, a powerful look, indeed, helping to promote the prosperity and pride of the city.

Brooklyn’s citizens also had great pride in their personal accomplishments, and Freeman was also able to deliver on some great residential architecture. His greatest house is the Behr Mansion, on Pierrepont Street, a massive Romanesque Revival house bursting with architectural ornament in the form of terra-cotta dragons and other ornament, stained glass, wrought iron and fine wood. (more…)