Editor’s Note: This post originally ran in 2011 and has been updated. You can read the previous post here.
The 1893 Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company Building is one of Brooklyn’s most iconic and famous structures. The Romanesque Revival style building at 28 Old Fulton Street could have easily been just another warehouse in a district of utilitarian warehouses, but Frank Freeman, one of Brooklyn’s best architects, chose to make it unique.
The difference between a good architect and a great architect is all in the detail. Freeman has designed a building that entices us to keep looking.
First of all, there is that perfect arch. Totally unnecessary in terms of function, yet so gorgeous, punctuated by the bold lettering, a space that wears the ornate patinated fencing and dragon-headed gas light pole like jewelry.
Freeman uses arches well, as evidenced by his great arch in his Fire Headquarters on Jay Street. After you’ve taken that in, the eye roams upward. The deep-set windows reinforce the desired notion that this building is a solid fortress, well able to protect the stored goods of the wealthy.
The illusion of a crenelated castle roofline is beautifully achieved with brick and windows. Highly visible signage enables travelers to keep the building’s location and business in mind, as does the fine clock, placed in the exact center of the building.
By the time Freeman built this storage warehouse, the Fulton Ferry area was past its heyday. The Brooklyn Bridge passing overhead took care of that. It was the perfect place for a highly visible, yet discreet warehouse.
The warehouse was built on the site of the old Brooklyn Eagle building, Brooklyn’s venerable newspaper, which was edited by Walt Whitman in this location from 1846 to 1848. They relocated to a new building near the Post Office, torn down years ago for Cadman Plaza.
Freeman actually retained the old Eagle press room, and incorporated it into the back and side of the new warehouse building. It can be seen on the corner of Elizabeth and Doughty.
The Eagle Warehouse was the home of the Brooklyn Law School between 1904 and 1928. In 1980, Brooklyn architect Bernard Rothzeid converted the building into co-op apartments.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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