Building of the Day: Children’s Portico at Pratt

1913 photo.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Children’s Portico at Pratt
Address: Northwest corner of Activity Center, Pratt Campus
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1912
Architectural Style: Norman Revival
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

The story: This ancient looking portico used to be attached to William Tubby’s Pratt Library, and was called the “Children’s Porch.” The Pratt Free Library, the first public library in Brooklyn, was built with an extensive library for children, and this entrance was designed especially for them. The library went totally private in the 1940s, and the children’s library was no more. In 1982, the library was expanded and this entrance was dismantled and reassembled on the other side of the campus.

It’s a wonderful Norman-style ruin, said to be a copy of part of the King’s School, Canterbury Cathedral, and was built in 1912, not 1012. On a photo shoot of Clinton Hill earlier this spring, Brownstoner reader Wasder and I discovered this structure, and had a great time photographing it. It’s a tribute to Pratt’s tradition of architectural preservation that they reconstructed what many may consider to be a useless pile of stone: an entryway leading nowhere. I’m very glad they kept it, as it still delights the eye, and is a place of mystery and enchantment.

(Originally posted 7/7/10)

1913 photo.

Children’s Portico under construction. 1912 photo. Brooklyn Public Library.

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