Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 21, 1889, p.13 ("The Work of Building")
Across the street stands a matching set of five buildings, 17-25 St. Johns Place:
With these buildings certain distinctive characteristics of Bonert's apartment houses begin to come into view. The buildings are all four stories, with three stories of brownstone-trimmed brick over a brownstone-faced first story, and with full-height bays. The windows are arched only at the top floor. Small terra cotta panels appear below each window.
Clustered inset columns, a Romanesque element, flank the doorways.
We will find these basic grammatical elements repeated again and again in Bonert's flat houses.
However, these St. Johns Place buildings are distinctive in some ways. Bonert employs red brick here, but switched to a lighter hue for nearly all his subsequent work. The brickwork creates a kind of horizontal banding that he seems to have dropped after these buildings. Finally, the group on the north side of the street alternates between buildings with a 3-sided, 3-window "octagonal bay" and a simpler, 2-window flat projecting bay. Bonert used the 3-window bay almost exclusively after these buildings. Otherwise, all of the basic grammatical elements for many of his subsequent buildings are in place here.
The 1897 Lain's Brooklyn Directory provides insight into the occupations of the residents of these flat houses. The most common occupation is clerk:
BRADFORD Harry W. salesman h 19 St John's pl
BRAISTED Abraham pilot h 25 St John's pl
COCKSHAW Albert journalist h 26 St John's pl
ELLSWORTH Jos W. clk. h 19 St John's pl
GARRAHAN Peter realestate 100 B'way NY h 21 St. John's pl
GERMANN Louis tinsmith h 25 St John's pl
LANE John O. clk. h 21 St John's pl
MARQUAND Fred'k F. broker 8 Broad N.Y. h 22 St John's pl
MILLS H'y M. clk h 24 St. John's pl
MILLS Randall insp. h 24 St John's pl
PARSONS Wm G. clk. h 17 St John's pl
POWERS John livery 117 Sterling pl h 23 St John's pl
POWERS Patrick H livery 117 Sterling pl h 23 St John's pl
POWERS Thos. clk h 23 St John's pl
RODRIGUEZ Louis bookkpr h 20 St John's pl
ROUSE Geo. D. T. stationer 33 Nassau h 23 St. John's Pl
SANFORD Fred'k. com trav h 25 St John's pl
SHERMAN Geo. B. mgr 204 Montague h 26 St John's pl
THOMSON Geo. G. physician 20 St John's pl
THOMSON H'y clk h 17 St John's pl
WHIPPLE Geo. clk. h 22 St John's pl
WHIPPLE Sam'l P. clk. h 22 St John's pl