Building of the Day: 76-104 Bainbridge Street

Editor’s note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: semi-detached houses
Address: 76-104 Bainbridge Street
Cross Streets: Lewis and Stuyvesant Avenues
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Heights
Year Built: 1919
Architectural Style: Alternating Neo-Georgian and Spanish Renaissance groups
Architect: W.F. McCarthy, for the Prosser Construction Company
Other Buildings by Architect: an architect/builder by same name is listed in Cleveland, building homes, in the 1920s. Not much other info found.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Stuyvesant Heights HD (1971)

The story: The opposite side of the street on this block consists solely of Queen Anne row houses designed by the great Magnus Dahlander, yes, the entire row of thirty-three houses. These are some of the most interesting and varied designs to be found anywhere in the neighborhood, the work of a master, so it is not surprising that people tend to gawp over there, and miss this group of houses just across the street. That’s too bad, because there is some interesting stuff going on over here, especially evidenced in this group of houses built twenty-seven years after the Dahlander group.

Think about the changes to the way we lived, in the mere space of a generation. The Dahlander houses were built when domestic help was still plentiful and cheap. Upper middle class people populated those houses, with their formal set of parlors and elaborately decorated spaces, with fine and fancy woodwork, tile and stained glass. Twenty-five years later, automobiles were rolling down Brooklyn’s streets, hemlines were rising, World War I was winding up, and the servant class was disappearing into factory and office jobs, never to return. These houses reflect those changes.

From the front, we can see that, with the exception of the last house in the group, they are pairs of houses, alternating Neo-Georgian and Spanish Renaissance designs. The two disparate styles are united by the use of Flemish bond brick, and raised brick terraces with brick balustrades and L-shaped steps. Some of the house have been outfitted in later metal awnings, and a couple with security bars added, but basically, these are very nice, single family, suburban style houses in the heart of the city.

If you look at the sides of the houses, between the pairs, you can see a small bump outs, probably in the dining rooms, and on the second floors, what looks like an enclosed second story sun room, with a large, multi-paned metal window. The view of the houses from the back is the clincher to the styles of the twentieth century. From here, both styles of houses are identical. So too are the back extensions, holding the kitchen, an enclosed sun room or sleeping porch, and that most desired of modern amenities; a built-in garage, complete with back alley service road that traverses the length of the row. Depending on your likes and needs, what’s better? 19th century row house splendor, or 20th century modernity? Isn’t it nice to have such great choices here on one block? GMAP

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