Photo of the Week: Brooklyn Historical Society’s building

[Long Island Historical Society, Clinton and Pierrepont Streets], circa 1925, V1974.031.1; Long Island Historical Society photographs, v1974.031; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Long Island Historical Society, Clinton and Pierrepont Streets], circa 1925, V1974.031.1; Long Island Historical Society photographs, v1974.031; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts Brooklyn Historical Society (formerly the Long Island Historical Society) around 1925. The land was purchased in 1868, but the Depression of 1873 stalled building plans until 1878 when enough money was amassed for construction. From December 1877 to February 1878, the Long Island Historical Society held a design competition for the new building location at 128 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn, New York. George Browne Post was selected as the winner of the contest and his drawings were used as the basis for the construction of the building, which was completed in 1881.

The Queen Anne-style building features a truss system to support the ceiling of the central library, as well as terra cotta ornamentation on the façade of the building that includes busts of Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, Johannes Gutenberg, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Michelangelo Buonarrti. In 1991, the building was recognized as a National Historical Landmark. Brooklyn Historical Society has a newly processed collection that includes the submitted drawings for the competition (including 33 submitted by Post), which can be viewed here.

This photograph is by Ernest Tanare and was commissioned by the Long Island Historical Society. It is part of the Long Island Historical Society photographs collection that features photographs from 1925 to 1980 relating to the Society’s historic building, as well as activities of the Long Island Historical Society. A large portion of the photographs in this collection focus on the exterior, interior, and details of the building. To see more photographs from this collection be sure to check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

 

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2 Responses to Photo of the Week: Brooklyn Historical Society’s building

  1. Norman Oder says:

    Thanks for this… it nudged me to check on when the Long Island Historical Society became the Brooklyn Historical Society. Which your web site says was 1985!
    http://www.brooklynhistory.org/about/aboutbhs.html

    Pretty late, it seems in hindsight, but another, similar question: do you know when the “Battle of Long Island” started being described as the “Battle of Brooklyn”? It has to be sometime after the plaque on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at Montague was laid (which IIRC is late 1920s).

  2. Andrew Porter says:

    When was the direction of traffic on Pierrepont Street changed from east to west to the current west to east?

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