Walking along the rhythmic rows of rowhouses on Lincoln Place in Crown Heights, you may spot a rather subtle variation. Amidst the sedate details of the block, 797 and 799 Lincoln Place boast rather unusual keystones over the arched windows — acanthus leaves on steroids.
Located within the Crown Heights North II Historic District the two-story houses were designed circa 1899 by architect and builder Frederick L. Hine. The rusticated limestone bases give way to smooth limestone-faced first floors, punctuated with arched window and door openings.
Each of the arched openings is emphasized by the oversized acanthus ornamentation. They give the building a modern and graphic, almost Art Deco feel.
Stylized versions of the Mediterranean plant acanthus were frequently used in Greek and Roman architecture and are a common decorative building element. They can be spotted elsewhere in the neighborhood, but these are unusual because of their size and simplicity.
While the row is unique, the architect responsible designed other houses on the block. Frederick L. Hine designed all of the largely Queen Anne, Renaissance and Romanesque Revival two and three-story rowhouses on the north side of block as well as the majority on the south side.
The architect was responsible for over 130 buildings in Crown Heights, most often working with Carrie E. Hine, his development partner and wife.
The Hines produced the bulk of their work in Crown Heights in the late 19th and early 20th century; he set up practice in Brooklyn around 1887. While not much has been known about their lives beyond the work, Brownstoner did manage to uncover a death notice for Fredrick, finally identifying his date of death as December 9, 1922.
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