Brooklyn structure: the inexperienced keystones of Lincoln Place
As you stroll along the rhythmic rows of row houses on Lincoln Place in Crown Heights, you can spot a rather subtle variation. Amid the serene details of the block, 797 and 799 Lincoln Place have rather unusual keystones over the arched windows – acanthus leaves on steroids.
Located in the Crown Heights North II Historic District, the two-story homes were designed by architect and builder Frederick L. Hine around 1899. The rusticated limestone plinths give way to smooth, limestone-clad first floors with arched window and door openings.
Each of the arched openings is emphasized by the oversized acanthus ornamentation. They give the building a modern and graphic, almost Art Deco feel.
Stylized versions of the Mediterranean acanthus plant were widely used in Greek and Roman architecture and are a common decorative building element. They can be spotted elsewhere in the neighborhood, but these are unusual due to their size and simplicity.
While the series is unique, the architect in charge designed other houses on the block. Frederick L. Hine designed all of the two- and three-story row houses, largely made up of Queen Anne, Renaissance, and Romanesque Revival, on the north side of the block and most on the south side.
The architect was responsible for over 130 buildings in Crown Heights, mostly working with Carrie E. Hine, his development partner and wife.
The Hines produced most of their work in Crown Heights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; He started a practice in Brooklyn around 1887. Although not much was known about her life beyond work, Brownstoner managed to uncover an obituary notice for Fredrick and eventually identify his date of death as December 9, 1922.
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