With its tree-lined streets, wide avenues, and rows of brownstones – elements that preserve a snapshot of Brooklyn at the turn-of-the-century – this picturesque, residential district is one of the most architecturally distinguished neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The 2012 extension, which incorporated an additional 603 buildings, for a grand total of 2,575, makes the Park Slope Historic District the largest stretch of protected buildings in New York City.
Semi-rural in character until shortly before the Civil War, wide-scale development of the district did not commence until the late 1870s and early 1880s. Two important factors that led to the area's growth after the Civil War were the construction of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Bridge. Prospect Park, the namesake of the district, was designed by Olmsted & Vaux in 1866, opened to the public in 1871, and completed in 1873. The park, with its large, open meadow, woods, and lake, attracted many builders who erected houses for merchants, lawyers, physicians, and other professionals, many of whom commuted to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge after it opened in 1883.
Row houses began to appear on the side streets, while mansions for the more affluent appeared along Prospect Park West. Built largely between the mid-1880s and World War I, the houses exemplify practically every style of the late nineteenth century, including Italianate, French Second Empire, Queen Anne, neo-Grec, Victorian Gothic, Romanesque Revival, Classical Revival, and early Modern. Especially notable are the Montauk Club, 25 Eighth Avenue, a Venetian Gothic palazzo of 1891 by Francis H. Kimball, and Montgomery Place, between Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West, much of which was designed by C.P. H. Gilbert. Several significant buildings in the extension include: the Ansonia Clock Company, Acme Hall, and the Park Slope Jewish Center.
Including about 287 buildings, a proposed second extension is comprised of four distinct areas, incorporating a wide variety of architectural styles. The oldest buildings in the extension date from the mid-nineteenth century: a altered wood-frame house at 22 Berkley Place and a Gothic Revival row house at 7 St. Mark's Avenue. The 1870s neo-Grec style is represented by Nos. 56 to 66 Berkeley Place, Nos. 33 to 41 Prospect Place, and Nos. 52 to 62 Sterling Place. Many picturesque Queen Anne style buildings also grace the district, including examples by noted architects Montrose Morris (76 to 82 St. Mark's Avenue) and C.P.H. Gilbert (56 to 64 Prospect Place).
In addition to residential buildings, the pending district includes St. Augustine's Catholic Church at Sixth Avenue and Sterling Place (1899), from designs of architect A.E. Parfitt. The church complex includes a school building with an 1878 Gothic Revival wing, by Robert Dixon, and additions also in the Gothic Revival style by A.E. Parfitt. Other notable religious structures include the Gothic Revival style Church of God (1905-06) at 42 Prospect Place, built from C.C. Wagner designs, and the neo-Classical style Church of Christ Scientist on Sterling Place (1936), by architect A.W. Laurie. ©2014