A few weeks ago, I asked an acquaintance with a sharp visual eye to pick which photos of mine he thought most worthy of posting to this blog. The one you see accompanying this post was high on his list.
I wish I could say that he selected this because of the skill of the photographer, but credit for this striking image rightly goes to those responsible for this entrance to the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). For a long while, I had seen references to this urban history center. But nothing except the on-site visit I made in early October could have prepared me for the rich architecture that led to the building’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.
When this Queen Anne-style building (known then and for the next century as the Long Island Historical Society) opened in 1881, visitors were stunned by architect George Browne Post’s use of bright terracotta façade, intricate brickwork, and many decorative details. The latter include busts of generic figures (in the accompanying photo of the spandrels of the entry door arch, a Viking on the left and a Native American on the right), as well as specific giants of history (Columbus, Franklin, Shakespeare, Gutenberg, Beethoven, and Michelangelo) created by Connecticut sculptor Olin Levi Warner.
At some (hopefully, sooner than later) point, I hope to write about the fascinating BHS exhibits I saw, as well as its specialized but marvelous library. But I just had to provide now at least a taste of this cultural gem in the borough of Brooklyn.