Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Calder & Calder in 8th Street

On the south side of 8th Street, just above 7th Avenue, stands a row of seven single-family residences. The row dates to 1889 and is the work of Alexander G. Calder, owner/builder, and his son William M. Calder, architect, a prolific pair of Park Slope builders whose 7th Avenue work we recently examined:

428-420 8th Street - unprotected
A. G. Calder & W. M. Calder, 1889

432-430 8th Street

On two of the houses (422 & 424), the original upper half-story was long ago raised in the front to provide a full third floor, at the expense of losing the beautiful original cornices that still grace the adjoining houses.

Our attribution is confirmed by both the Brooklyn Eagle and the American Architect & Building News:

Brooklyn Eagle, April 21, 1889, p.13 ("The Work of Building")

"Building Intelligence; Houses; Brooklyn, N. Y.," AABN vol. 25, no. 699 (May 18, 1889): p. xvi.
– "Eighth St., s s, 90' e Seventh Ave., 7 two-st’y brownstone dwells., tin roofs; cost, each, $5,000; owner and builder, A. G. Calder, 312 Thirteenth St.; architect, W. M. Calder."

#420 8th Street, the end house in the row and the only one that appears to have been originally a full three stories over basement, was the residence of the developer, Alexander G. Calder, for much of his life. His 1927 New York Times obituary cites 420 8th Street as his residence at the time of his death at age 85, and notes that he developed hundreds of buildings in Park Slope and South Brooklyn. A. G. Calder was also the first president of the South Brooklyn Board of Trade, which later became the Park Slope Civic Council, sponsor of the current effort to expand the Park Slope Historic District:

New York Times, March 6, 1927, p. 20

Another curiosity regarding the 8th Street houses is that they are virtually identical to two other rows by other developers, in Garfield Place and in President Street. Compare the detailing in the examples below:

430 8th Street - unprotected
Alexander G. Calder, builder/owner; William M. Calder, architect - 1889

221 Garfield Place - Park Slope Historic District
Martin & Lee, builder/owners; Charles Werner, architect - 1890

807 President Street - unprotected
Builders/owners/architects, Martin & Lee - 1888

Such are the irrational vagaries of the 1973 Park Slope Historic District boundaries! Identical houses, some protected, some not.


Morgan Munsey said...

We have the same homes on the south side of Jefferson Ave btwn Marcy and Tompkins. It was also done by the father son team of George Stone and A. Stone.

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