Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former Hook and Ladder Company Number 106
Address: 124 Greenpoint Avenue
Cross Streets: Franklin Street and Manhattan Avenue
Year Built: 1909
Architectural Style: simplified Beaux-Arts
Landmarked: Yes, part of Greenpoint HD (1981)
The story: This building used to be a firehouse; a hook and ladder company, which served to protect the homes and businesses of Greenpoint. There had been a firehouse on this location since 1856, when Hook and Ladder Company Number 6 was formed. In 1880, a new Italianate brick building was built for the company, one that stood until 1909, when this more modern limestone building replaced it. It’s a good looking, elegant building, spare in detail, but quite nice in all respects. The traces of the original “Hook and Ladder Company Number 106” can still be glimpsed in the frieze.
The period photo below shows that Italianate house and the firemen who worked there. Brooklyn’s fire department has always been manned by immigrants or the sons of immigrants, and Greenpoint’s firehouses were no different. All but one of the men in the photo were Irish, (one was a Scot), and all lived and served in the community. Greenpoint was home to many industries that were prone to fire, and these men are on record, having fought many a dangerous industrial fire, including fires in bagging factories, bakeries, sugar factories and box factories, as well as house and tenement fires. Many were seriously hurt, even maimed, in the line of duty.
After 1898, Brooklyn’s firehouses were now part of a greater New York City fire department, and by 1913, the name of the house had been changed to Ladder 106. This handsome new building was built to give the fire company the latest in equipment, which now included new motor vehicles for firefighting. The building is 25×62, giving them room for equipment on the ground floor, and plenty of room on the second floor for offices, sleeping quarters, bathroom and shower facilities, and a meeting room.
This building housed Ladder 106 until 1972, when they moved down the block to a new (and uninspired) headquarters at 205 Greenpoint Avenue. The city sold the building to the present owner in 1975. He also owns the former garage next door, at 122. The poultry business has been there a very long time. I don’t know what the former firehouse is used for now, if anything, but the poor building is certainly not living up to its former glory. Why would you paint limestone? This is a fine building, please give it some love! GMAP
(Above photo: Christopher Bride for Property Shark, 2012)