The Landmark Building
The Brooklyn Historical Society's building is located in the Brooklyn Heights Historic District at 128 Pierrepont Street.
The Brooklyn Historical Society's four-story Queen Anne style building was completed in 1881 and was designed by architect George B. Post. Post's bold use of extensive terra cotta ornamentation on the façade, and innovative truss system to support the ceiling of the central library, has long been revered by architectural historians. The building's masonry of unglazed terra cotta and repressed brick was the first building in New York City to use locally produced terra cotta. The facade was sculpted by Olin Levi Warner and is adorned with heroic busts of figures from history, interspersed with representations of American flora by Truman H. Bartlett. Post employed artisans in the spirit of the Aesthetic Movement to embellish and enrich the interior spaces of the building. Stained glass in-window lunettes and a central laylight are believed to have originated from the studio of noted stained glass artist Charles Booth. Decorations throughout the building include Minton tile floors, custom made bronze hardware (designed by Post), and elaborately carved black ash woodwork in the library.
In addition, Post applied the bridge construction technique of using a truss system to suspend the weight of a floor. In order to create an open and graceful galleried library, Post suspended the top floor of the building from iron trusses in the roof. Additional iron columns enclosed in carved wood support the galleries in the library. The building is one of the few examples of the 19th-century genre of a combined museum and library still in existence.
In July 1991, the building was recognized as a National Historic Landmark and included on the National Register of Historic Places.Portions of the interior, including the library, were designated as anInterior Landmark by the City of New York, one of the few interior landmarked buildings in Brooklyn.
Over the years, BHS’s building has been updated to accommodate changing needs and technologies. Read more about the 1999-2003 renovation and restoration project
here and the upcoming interior renovation project here.
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