Building of the Day: 979 Park Place

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: 979 Park Place, between New York and Brooklyn Avenues
Name: Private House
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Shingle Style Queen Anne
Architect: George Chappell
Landmarked: No, but calendared in Phase II of CHN HD

Why chosen: The AIA Guide to NYC calls this house, a prototypical model for Vincent Scully’s great 1955 book, The Shingle Style. It’s one of Crown Heights North’s great private freestanding houses. If George Chappell had been a painter, instead of a brilliant architect, Crown Heights would have been his canvas. His best works are here, and all are quite different, ranging from his Arts and Crafts St. Bartholomew’s Church, to his Queen Anne rowhouses on Dean, his classically inspired limestones on Bergen St, to this Shingle Style house. And those are by no means all. I’m betting the porch roof once had Mediterranean tiles on the roof, and more subtantial wooden columns, and of course, the fence and the wall are replacements, but aside from that, the house is remarkably intact. The interior also retained most of its detail. This house is one of those neighborhood treasures that we in Crown Heights North had our eye on, hoping that it would be landmarked before it was sold to developers. A previous owner was a mortgage and real estate broker who worked out of the house for years. He died, and it was on the market with different brokers, always advertised as an investment property, as it sits on a large lot. It then got lost to foreclosure, and at the last minute was finally rescued by the family that has lovingly restored it, turning it into a two family home. Thanks to them, this architecturally significant house can be enjoyed by people who love it, and it will remain a standing testament to George Chappell’s talents.

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