Building of the Day: 152 Berkeley Place

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: former Clegg mansion garage
Address: 152 Berkeley Place
Cross Streets: 6th and 7th Avenues
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1925
Architectural Style: Neo-Tudor
Architect: Murphy & Lehmann
Other Buildings by Architect: St. John’s U. (first four buildings) Peter Claver “Castle”, Bedford Stuyvesant, St. Aedan’s RC Church, Jersey City, and others.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Park Slope HD (1973)

The story: This lovely neo-Tudor building began its life as a garage. It was built for Afred E. Clegg, the vice-president of the Kerr Steamship Line, who had just bought the former Luckenbach mansion at 104 8th Avenue, on the corner of President Street. The Luckenbach’s were also in shipping, and were more than successful enough to have Montrose Morris design a huge mansion for them, which Clegg bought in 1920.The 1920’s were the age of the automobile, and Mr. Clegg wanted his ride to be housed in style. His chauffeur certainly didn’t have it bad either.

The garage/apartment was designed by the firm of Murphy & Lehmann, in 1925, and is a delightful change from the brownstones and other buildings on the block. It’s in a storybook neo-Tudor style, with handsome, yet sturdy garage doors, and a wonderful little hooded porch with Tudor detailing. Upstairs was the chauffeur’s quarters, a tidy apartment with a pretty bay, and casement style windows. The main Luckenbach mansion was eventually torn down in the 1940’s for the apartment building that now stands in its place. The garage still survives as housing.

Henry V. Murphy and Edward A. Lehmann were a successful pair of architects who specialized in architectural projects for the Catholic Church. Both separately and together, this represents one of their few projects in a secular vein. Henry Murphy was a Pratt graduate, and most of his long career was spent designing churches and related buildings, mostly in Brooklyn, Queens, and the surrounding suburbs. Murphy was the more prolific, designing at least 27 churches, parish houses, and schools during his career. Most recently, his Peter Claver “Castle” built in 1929 as a community center for Peter Claver Church in Bedford Stuyvesant, was in the news, as it is being remade into a school. Murphy is also on record for his two schools under his design, PS 120, and 287.

Edward Lehmann was busy in his home state of New Jersey, designing churches in Jersey City and elsewhere in the state. His most well-known church was St. Aedan’s, built in 1912, in Jersey City. His early work also involved houses in Queens. He was educated at MIT, and was a draftsman for the firm of Warren & Wetmore, a man with a fine architectural pedigree. This garage may have been a small stepping stone in their careers, but Park Slope is better off for it, and we have this great building left behind, a reminder of the days when cars were princes, and a chauffeur could live in a castle. GMAP

Photo: Kate Leonova for Property Shark, 2006.

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