Williamsburg Bank, Now a Church, Landmarked Despite Reverend’s Protests

Photo via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

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In a rare move, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted Tuesday to designate the Williamsburgh Trust Company Building at 177 South 5th Street in Williamsburg a New York City landmark.

The Neoclassical-style building was built as a bank and designed by prominent borough architects Helmle, Huberty & Hudswell. Completed in 1906, it is one of the many historic “banking temples” that have dotted Brooklyn and Manhattan since the late 19th century, according to the LPC.

Brooklyn Landmark Williamsburg Church Bank 177 South 5th Neoclassical

Photo via the Landmarks Preservation Commission

“This is one of the neighborhood’s most beautiful and prominent buildings,” Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinavasan said in a prepared statement.

After it ceased to be a bank in 1910, it served as a borough courthouse from 1916 to 1958. It is now the Ukrainian Church in Exile, Holy Trinity Cathedral, which bought it in 1961.

The church was “prioritized” for designation by the LPC in February, as Brownstoner reported at the time. It had been one of seven Brooklyn buildings on the LPC’s “backlog” list of 96 sites citywide that had been in limbo for decades.

The designation comes as something of a surprise because the church’s Reverend Wolodymyr Wronskyj had spoken against the landmarking at the public hearing, and it’s unusual for the commission to designate a building when the owner opposes it.

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