Brooklyn Structure: A Queen Anne Magnificence in Mattress Stuy (Images)
At the intersection of Halsey Street and Stuyvesant Avenue in Bed Stuy, a Queen Anne confection holds the corner and is adorned with a glorious cornucopia of architectural details that are worth a closer look. The four-story brick and sandstone building at 307 Stuyvesant Avenue (also known as 519 Halsey Street) has survived for more than 100 years with many details intact.
It was built around 1889 with shops and apartments at street level – not uncommon for 19th century corner buildings. The designer and builder was the developer Walter F. Clayton.
It is located in the Bedford Stuyvesant / Expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, which includes more than 40 other Clayton buildings. In addition to his work as an architect and builder, Clayton was a politician and served as a New York State MP in the early 1920s.
The outstanding feature of the building is the tower effect due to the bay windows placed at the corners, which extend from the second to fourth floors. The tower is covered with a dormer-shaped, pyramid-shaped roof – perhaps originally covered with slate shingles rather than with today’s asphalt. A large cornice with brackets towers over the street facades of Halsey and Stuyvesant.
Below the bay window, at street level, the storefront from the 19th century has largely disappeared, but some details have been preserved, as a closer look shows.
The original cast iron pilasters are still present on both sides of the corner entrance.
The facade of Halsey Street has another impressive ornate bay window crowned with a hipped roof. On the right is 523 Halsey Street, also a Queen Anne-style building by Clayton – albeit much smaller.
Between the windows on the third and fourth floors are panels of patterned brick, including this dog-tooth pattern. To create the design, some stones are laid diagonally so that one corner protrudes outwards.
The Walkup building is still rented and has six apartments. A 1916 Brooklyn Daily Eagle ad advertised a six-room apartment with “corner bay windows” with steam heating and awnings on the windows for $ 28 a month – about $ 624 a month in 2017.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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