Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lost Park Slope: John H. Hanan Residence

Our recent "Lost Park Slope" featured the Romanesque Revival residence of John H. Hanan, a wealthy shoe manufacturer in Brooklyn. The residence was designed in 1890 by C. P. H. Gilbert and stood at the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and Carroll Street until the mid-1930s.

John H. Hanan Residence - 118 8th Avenue
C. P. H. Gilbert, architect - 1890
Demolished circa 1935

Architectural historian Christopher Gray discussed this house in a 2003 "Streetscapes" column devoted to C. P. H. Gilbert:

Another element crept into Gilbert's work about this time -- the lacy forms, decorated gables and lighter stone, often limestone, of late French Gothic. One of the first was a mansion for the shoe dealer John Hanan at Carroll Street and Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, around 1890. The Hanan house, demolished in the 1930's, still had the heavy, rock-faced stone common to the Romanesque revival of the 1880's, but period photographs indicate that the masonry was of a much lighter cast than the usual brownstone and, more significantly, was detailed with delicate French Gothic detail in limestone at the doorway and roof line.

John Henry Hanan was the "son" of the firm of Hanan & Son shoes, a highly successful shoe manufacturer here in Brooklyn started by his father, James. The firm built a shoe factory in Brooklyn that still stands in the DUMBO Historic District:

Hanan & Son Shoe Factory
54 Bridge Street, DUMBO Historic District

According to the DUMBO Historic District's Designation Report:

Hanan & Son. Shoe manufacturer with a major complex on Bridge Street between Water
and Front Streets erected between 1893 and 1905. Hanan, with 1,131 employees in 1913,was, by far, the largest shoe manufacturer in Brooklyn...

...Hanan initially announced construction of a seven-story structure; he actually built a five-story factory. Even before purchasing the DUMBO property, James Hanan was a resident of Brooklyn, living in a large mansion at 45 Eighth Avenue (demolished) in Park Slope. James Hanan (1819-1897) was born in Ireland and learned the shoe trade from his father. In 1849 he moved to America and in 1854 established a small shoemaking business in New York City. In about 1865, his son, John Henry Hanan (1849-1920), entered his father’s firm, and in 1882 the company became Hanan & Son. The Hanan Company was among the first to stamp the firm’s name on every shoe, a daring idea at a time when most people still sought shoes handmade by the dealer. The firm was successful and in 1888 Hanan began opening retail stores to sell the factory’s product directly to consumers.

1884 advert from Puck

The mansion stood until about 1935, when it was demolished to make way for the present structure, an 11-story apartment building begun in 1936:

118 8th Avenue - 1936
Park Slope Historic District


LGR said...

I'm leaving this comment some time after the fact, but something has always troubled me about this.

If you look at the earlier image of the residence, the row houses just visible are actually not where they should be, if you actually take a look on Carroll Street. Rather, these look very suspiciously like the two houses on the south side of President Street, right off of Eighth Avenue. So, what's going on? Is the original photo reversed? (though I note the mansion is also cited in Merlis in the location given here). I mean, something is amiss.

LGR said...

Here's what I'm talking about (sorry for the ridiculous URL):