Building of the Day: 626 Bushwick Avenue

The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.

Address: 626 Bushwick Avenue, corner of Jefferson Street
Name: St. Mark’s Lutheran School
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Year Built: 1892
Architectural Style: Victorian Gothic
Architects: Theobald Engelhardt
Landmarked: No

Why chosen: Bushwick’s German community put an indelible stamp on the streetscape here. The breweries, the factories, the large homes of the brewers, bankers and businessmen who lived here, their community halls and their churches are still here. Today, all of the buildings that survived from the mid-19th century have new owners, new uses, but their architectural beauty can still impress. Theobald Engelhardt, the son of German immigrants himself, was one busy architect, and much of his work is concentrated in Bushwick and Williamsburg. St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School was built at the height of the community’s prosperity. The church is a fine piece of sacred architecture, but I really like the school building. It’s a classic late Victorian school, very similar to James Naughton’s public schools, also from the same time general period, with a little extra tossed in. Engelhardt used very Eastern/Moorish details in his windows, indicating Gothic window tracery in a very non-Gothic building. The fish scaled copper roof, with its Moorish cupola is the highlight of the building. The terra-cotta detailing adds more texture to the facade, while the script, which says Evangelical Lutheran Sunday school above the entrance, is pure German Gothic. It’s a really cool building, which demands attention. It’s been reborn as a school again, now serving an entirely different population of students. Long may it stand.



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