Brooklyn, one building at a time.

The Brooklyn Paramount Theatre was one of Brooklyn’s famed movie palaces. Like most of the great movie palaces built in the 1920s and ’30s, the Paramount was ornate and over the top. It’s now on its way to being restored, but it was almost lost forever. Here’s a look at its early days.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Built as a private home during the post–Civil War boom years, this building became famous as the home of the Chandler Piano Company.

Name: Originally a row house, then retail/apartments
Address: 222 Livingston Street
Cross Streets: Hoyt and Bond streets
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: Probably late 1860s or early 1870s
Architectural Style: Italianate with mid-20th-century alterations
Architect: Unknown
Landmarked: No

This four-story building was the middle house in a group of seven brownstone row houses, built for a growing population in the post–Civil War boom years. The earliest detailed map of 1880 shows the group here. It was one of many groups of similar homes built along Livingston Street.

All of downtown Brooklyn’s streets began as residential, including Fulton, Livingston and Schermerhorn. It seems hard to believe today, but traces of this early development can still be found on all three, although they are fast disappearing.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Contrary to popular belief, Brownsville still has some great architecture, especially on its main commercial streets.

Name: Originally Lafayette Trust, then Provident Loan Society. Now a T-Mobile.
Address: 1698 Pitkin Avenue
Cross Streets: Corner of Rockaway Avenue
Neighborhood: Brownsville
Year Built: Early 20th century, before 1909
Architectural Style: Simplified Beaux-Arts
Architect: Arthur G. Stone
Other Works by Architect: Row houses on Hancock and other streets in Bedford; also flats and store buildings in Williamsburg, and other buildings throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan
Landmarked: No

Most people think Brownsville is little more than rows upon rows of high-rise NYCHA housing. There certainly is plenty of that there, but there is much more to the neighborhood.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

This grand mansion was built for Coffee King John Arbuckle. It was one of architect Montrose W. Morris’s first large mansion commissions.

Name: John Arbuckle House, now condominiums
Address: 315 Clinton Avenue
Cross Streets: DeKalb and Lafayette avenues
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill
Year Built: 1888
Architectural Style: Romanesque revival
Architect: Montrose W. Morris
Other Works by Architect: Nearby houses/apartment buildings at 184-188 Clinton Avenue, 282-290 and 185-189 DeKalb Avenue, 515 Clinton Avenue, Roanoke Apartments and 24-26 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene. Many other buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights.
Landmarked: Yes, part of Clinton Hill Historic District (1981)

John Arbuckle’s immense fortune came from the coffee business. He was a perfect client for the young Montrose W. Morris, who was just beginning to get those lucrative commissions from his desired demographic: rich people.

Brownstoner’s recent Walkabout columns have been about Mr. Arbuckle and his coffee business. As noted in this last chapter, Arbuckle moved to New York in 1871, opening an outpost of his Pittsburgh-based coffee and wholesale grocery business, Arbuckle & Co.