It’s not very often that an architect can shape an entire portion of a city, but that’s what James W. Naughton did with the Brooklyn Public School system between the years 1879 and 1898.
Have you ever wondered who designed that fascinating structure you walk by every day? We've rounded up profiles of architects who contributed to the 19th and 20th century look of Brooklyn, from rows of brownstones to iconic institutional structures.
It’s School Week here on Brownstoner. Stay tuned for more school-themed stories celebrating the start of the school year.
Here’s a look at some of the best school buildings in the city of Brooklyn, and the man who designed them.
Schools have always been important in Brooklyn. The second school in the entire New Amsterdam colony was built here, in Williamsburgh in 1662. The first Brooklyn public school was also in Williamsburgh, opening in 1826.
In 1855, the City of Brooklyn incorporated. It established a Brooklyn Board of Education and chose Samuel B. Leonard as its first Superintendent of Buildings, a position that entailed designing and overseeing all of the school construction in this growing city.
Leonard held the position from 1859-79 and was succeeded by James W. Naughton, who held the position from 1879-98.
For almost 20 years, Naughton designed ALL of the schools built in Brooklyn, totaling more than 100 buildings.