Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Private House
Address: 1440 Albemarle Road
Cross Streets: corner of Marlborough Road
Neighborhood: Prospect Park South
Year Built: 1905
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: Robert Bryson and Carroll Pratt
Other works by architect: Bryson (Slee & Bryson) Albemarle-Kenmore Terrace houses, Flatbush, other houses in PPS, PS, CHN, CHS, and PLG. Carroll Pratt – various houses in PPS.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Prospect Park South HD (1979)
The story: You can’t walk or drive through Prospect Park South without seeing this house. It’s on Albemarle Road, the main street and showcase block of the neighborhood, and it’s a huge behemoth in a neighborhood of large houses, sitting on a prime corner lot. The style of the house is called Colonial Revival, and it’s a catch-all of early American styles: English Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, with a healthy dash of extra Classical and Victorian elements, in this case, all on some heavy architectural steroids. This was a home built to impress, and it does so quite well.
The house was built for J.C. Woodhull, a prominent Brooklyn lumber dealer, which kind of figures, as they sure used a lot of lumber to build this massive 48×60 three story house. At the time in 1905, one of the architects, Carroll Pratt, was the chief architect of the development, a job he took over from the original chief architect, John J. Petit. He teamed up with Robert Bryson, who would soon partner with John Slee to create some of Brooklyn’s best brick Colonial Revival houses in Lefferts Manor and other neighborhoods. Slee & Bryson met here, working on Prospect Park South. These two men designed a house large enough to include every element of Colonial Revival style imaginable.
You’ve got Palladian windows, enormous fluted columns topped with Ionic capitals, Doric pilasters under the porch, and Corinthian capitals and columns in the grand entryway. That’s a chapter on Classical architecture right there. The large house swells with bows, bays, oriels, balustrades and porches, and even has a conservatory in the back, as well as another balcony and porch. Chimneys abound, and there are windows of every size and shape, lots of them. And of course, there is a garage of a later date, but even it has columns.
Sadly, what keeps this house from being lauded as one of PPS’ greatest, is the loss of the original clapboard siding. The entire house, even at the time of its designation in the PPS Historic District in 1979, was covered in a grey/green asphalt shingles. The shingles were put on very carefully, and well, so the house is very trim and neat looking, and it is impeccably cared for. What a wonderful massive Victorian steamboat of a house it would be if it could someday get its original cladding restored, in what would be a very expensive undertaking. In any case, and by any definition, this is still some house. GMAP