Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eastlake Detail in 6th Avenue

Brownstoner's "Montrose Morris", in another of her always-fascinating essays, recently covered the Aesthetic Movement and its impact on Brooklyn's brownstone belt. The essay is highlighted with a photograph of incised facade decoration that Morris identifies as "Eastlake detail". The detailing appears on a house in MacDonough Street, between Throop and Tompkins, in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District:

MacDonough Street - Stuyvesant Heights Historic District
(brownstoner photo)

What caught our eye about the photograph however is how closely the detailing matches that on a complete row of houses here in Park Slope, on 6th Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets:

294 6th Avenue, Park Slope - detail

Morris writes:

Charles Eastlake was very influenced by Japanese culture and design, those designs reinterpreted in the American Eastlake furniture and interior woodwork, as well as exterior incised stonework of the Neo-Grec brownstones of Brooklyn.

Interestingly, although the detailing appears identical, the houses themselves were apparently designed and constructed by different builders.

As we have noted earlier, the Park Slope row was apparently constructed in 1887 by Brooklyn owner/architect/builder Christopher P. Skelton:

278-296 6th Avenue, Park Slope - unprotected
Christopher P. Skelton - owner/builder/architect, 1887

MacDonough Street, in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, actually has two sets of similar houses on the same block. One row was erected in 1888 by builder John Fraser, while another row was built in 1886 by Arthur Taylor. The district's Designation Report identifies these houses as examples of the "French neo-Grec" style. One wonders whether these guys just handed around the same sets of plans?

Since we never tire of pointing out the inconsistencies, irrationalities, and omissions in the Park Slope Historic District, we must emphasize that the Park Slope row pictured above is not protected by historic district designation. The virtually identical rows of houses in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District were designated in 1971.


Morgan Munsey said...

I notice that Park Slope and Bedford Stuyvesant have many of the same style homes.. Many details you see in one neighborhood you see in the other. The MacDonough Street homes in the photos are designed by architect I. D. Reynolds. I would love to know who designed the Park Slope houses.

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