Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Complete 5th Avenue Blockfront

In the April 29, 1886 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, we read that George Brown had completed "five brown stone front houses" at the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and Douglass Street. The article noted that each "house" (actually a mixed use building) contained a store and three flats or apartments above:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 29, 1886, p. 1 ("New Buildings")

Checking our comprehensive Park Slope photo archive, we find that the original buildings are still standing. Each of them is three "bays" or windows wide.

5th Avenue & Douglass Street, SW corner - unprotected

The cornice detailing, or what remains of it, matches on two of the adjoining buildings:

An earlier Eagle notice for the same row attributes the buildings to W[illiam]. H. Brown, who may have been in the same firm with George Brown. William Brown was also active in this area of the Slope around the same time:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 21, 1885, p. 1 ("More Houses")

At the same time George Brown erected his 5th Avenue row, he also constructed a building in Douglass Street, just to the rear. Its completion was noted by the Eagle in the same article that noted the completion of the 5th Avenue row:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 29, 1886, p.1 ("New Buildings")

It was not unusual for builders to control lots on both sides of a corner, as here. The building is actually only trimmed, not faced, with brownstone:

410 Douglass Street - unprotected

But the cornice detailing matches that of the 5th Avenue row:

And it is also the only three-story, three-family building on the south side of Douglass Street, which facilitates the identification.

Meanwhile, the four buildings at the northwest corner of 5th Avenue and Degraw Street were erected by Dan Buckley, as noted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of March 19, 1887:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 19, 1887, p.1 ("Buildings")

Unlike George Brown's row to the north, which is faced with brownstone, the Buckley row is brick with brownstone trim. Again, the quoins on the corner building nicely punctuate the row:

5th Avenue & Degraw Street, NW corner - unprotected

Oddly, the corner building in this block, at 17.5' wide, is much narrower than the other three, which are each 27' in width. The former held only one family per upper floor ("single flats"), while the wider buildings held two ("double flats").

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