Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A. G. and W. M. Calder in 7th Avenue

The father and son team of Alexander G. Calder and William M. Calder designed and built many properties within the current Park Slope Historic District, which was designated in 1973. According to the district's Designation Report, the pair were particularly active in the South Slope, building for example nearly all of 13th Street's "park block".

According to our research, the pair were also responsible for many Park Slope properties outside the historic district as well, including the row of five mixed-use (flats over stores) buildings on the southeast corner of 7th Avenue and 7th Street. The corner building has one of those great bay windows facing into the middle of the intersection:

289-297 7th Avenue - unprotected
William M. Calder, architect - 1888
Alexander G. Calder, owner and builder

The American Architect and Building News reports that plans for these buildings were filed in April, 1888:

"Building Intelligence; Apartment-Houses; Brooklyn, N. Y.," AABN vol. 23, no. 643 (Apr. 21, 1888): p. xiv.
– "Seventh Ave., e s, 40' 8" s Seventh St., 3 four-st’y brownstone flats, tin roofs, wooden cornices; cost, each, $9,000; owner and contractor, A. G. Calder, 312 Thirteenth St.; architect, W. M. Calder."

"Building Intelligence; Stores; Brooklyn, N. Y.," AABN vol. 23, no. 644 (Apr. 28, 1888): p. xvi.
– "Seventh Ave., e s, 21' s Seventh St., four-st’y brownstone store and flat, tin roof; cost, $9,000; owner and contractor, A. G. Calder, 312 Thirteenth St.; architect, W. M. Calder."
– "Seventh Ave., s e cor., Seventh Ave., four-st’y brownstone store and dwell, tin roof; cost, $11,000; owner and contractor, A. G. Calder, 312 Thirteenth St.; architect, W. M. Calder."

Our intrepid researchers at the Brooklyn Department of Buildings have confirmed the attribution in the form of a "Detailed Statement of Specification of Buildings" filed in the name of A. G. and W. M. Calder.

We have always loved these distinctive corner buildings with the diagonally projecting bays, so characteristic of Park Slope's commercial corridors. Only a few of them, in the far north Slope, are protected by historic district designation.

The Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Collection has an 1893 photograph of this row. The photograph indicates that the corner building, like many similar buildings in 7th Avenue, once boasted a mansarded turret surmounting the corner bay window:

289-297 7th Avenue in 1893

The BPL's caption reads:

View of the intersection of 7th Avenue and 7th Street, showing portions of three residential buildings and an event, possibly a groundbreaking ceremony for All Saints Episcopal Church, built in 1893, taking place in the foreground.

We last encountered William Calder's work in 12th Street's park block, where he designed a long row of houses for owner James Jack in 1898-99.

No comments: