Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Friday, November 26, 2010

Columbia Hall

Thanks to Here's Park Slope and the Fading Ad Blog for identifying 725 Union Street as the former Columbia Hall. The building still carries its name in faded paint at the top of a side wall:

Columbia Hall - 1891
John D. Muller, owner

Union Street, north side, view west from 5th Avenue

photo: Fading Ad Blog

According to the American Architect and Building News, the hall was built in 1891:

"Building Intelligence; Stores; Brooklyn, N. Y.," AABN vol. 33, no. 812 (Jul. 18, 1891): p. xix.
– "Union St., n s, 69' w Fifth Ave., four-st’y brick store and lodge rooms, tin roof; cost, $13,500; owner, John D. Muller, Fifth Ave. and Union St."

The sheer variety of activities held in this hall is astounding, and reflects what seems to have been a far more social time predating movies, television, and the Internet. The Brooklyn Eagle lists countless dinners, meetings, musicales, lectures, recitations, and sporting events held by the many fraternal and sororal associations of the day:

Apparently the hall included bowling lanes.

"Wheelmen" = bicycle enthusiasts

I.O.R.M. = "Improved Order of Red Men"

Much more recently, the building that was Columbia Hall was until recently the home and studio of visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey. The artists have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of art as spiritual practice, and are planning to construct the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors at their new home upstate. We ourselves once attended Full Moon parties at 725 Union Street, perhaps the only building in Park Slope that can claim to be the site of the founding of a new religion that has attracted thousands of followers worldwide.

These days, one is likely to encounter Alex Grey's distinctive imagery on one's LSD:

LSD blotter, with unauthorized image by Alex Grey


Frank Jump said...

I'm flattered at your mention of my blog and using my image. Please credit it appropriately. Thank you

HDEC said...

Apologies, Frank. Photo credit applied.

Frank Jump said...

Thanks again. Happy Hannukah & World AIDS Day. Keep on preserving!