This Carroll Gardens Topper Has Been Impressing Passersby for Over a Century


Just outside of the Carroll Gardens Historic District is 534 Henry Street, a building with a bold and striking mix of Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne elements.

Built sometime between 1886 and 1895, it was likely constructed as an apartment house with commercial on the ground floor; it remains a mixed-use building today. In the 1890s, a pharmacy operated from the storefront and today it houses a dry cleaner.


Look up to make sure you spot the most entrancing features of this brick and stone building. The pressed metal cornice has rich layers of decorative detail, including swags and acanthus leaves.

The roofline is punctuated with a corner tower and a mix of elements common to the Queen Anne style — including asymmetry, contrasting shapes, and even a sliver of a slate-clad faux-mansard roofline behind a Flemish gable.


While the bulk of the building is fairly standard for the time, the top story is quirky and unusual, verging on the exotic. Unfortunately, we don’t know the architect.


Large, mixed-use buildings sited on corners were fairly common in the late 19th century and were often tenement buildings with fairly elaborate exterior detailing. In this case, the building is located at the corner of Henry and President streets (Gmap).

While the cornice wraps around to President Street, the most elaborate detail is on the Henry Street facade.


There are only six apartments in the building, and at one time there were only four. Presumably all floor-throughs, they may have been fairly luxurious when first built.

It is worth a walk up to the building to take a look at the lintels, which feature carved details at the corners.

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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