Architectural Diversity

The Architecture of the Bushwick Avenue Study Area

The approximately 35 linear blocks that is the focus of The Bushwiki contain a large diversity of architectural styles and periods that reflect the neighborhood’s rich history.

Residential architecture is the dominant building type along Bushwick Avenue. Many groups of row houses that appear to be speculative developments can be found in the study area. There is a large variety of style, age and architectural integrity and unfortunately not all the row houses have retained a high level of integrity over the years. The facades of some of the row houses have been covered with vinyl siding, paint or stucco, some no longer have their original cornices and many show modified entryways.

The row on Linden Avenue appears to be the most intact group of row houses, located just south of Bushwick Avenue as shown on the map. These richly decorated Queen Anne brick and terra cotta row houses, built around 1885, have wrought iron stoop railings, detailed brow and waist freezes and pressed metal cornices with foliated swags. A cast-iron crenellated mansard roof on the corner house provides a striking terminus to the row.

There are many multi-family tenement buildings throughout Bushwick Avenue as well. Many do show their original forms and facades but some show modifications similar to those on the row houses mentioned previously.

There are a number of mansions in the neighborhood, most built at the end of the 19th century by wealthy German immigrants associated with the prosperous breweries in the area, such as the Gustav Doerschuck House located at 999 Bushwick Avenue. This massive brick and granite Romanesque Revival building was constructed in 1890 for Gustav Doerschuck, a local brewer. The structure expresses its importance through its massive tower and elegant details, such as the eyebrow windows tucked into the roof and the floriated terra cotta that runs over the gable’s arched corbel table.

A large variety of styles coexist next to one another along Bushwick, as seen in the mansions between Menahan Street and Linden Street, enriching the landscape of the avenue. Many have been altered from their original appearance and their entranceways show their conversion from single family dwellings to multi-apartment structures, reflecting the changing economic levels in the neighborhood.

A number of significant institutional and community buildings illustrate the changes in culture and identity of Bushwick Avenue over its long history. Arion Hall, an anchor of the community from the late 18th to mid 19th centuries, was built in 1882 and designed by Theobald M Engelhardt, an extremely prolific architect in the Eastern District of Brooklyn. The Arion of Brooklyn, a German singing society, was founded in April 1866 and incorporated in 1886. Their hall at 11-27 Arion Place, formerly Wall Street, opened on October 29, 1887. The organization served as a society for German immigrants to retain and celebrate the culture of their homeland. The building suffered much neglect and was abandoned in the 1990s. Recently it has been revived and converted multiple residential units.

Many industrial and commercial buildings are located in the western end of Bushwick Avenue, such as the William Ulmer Brewery complex, located at 31 Belvidere Street, which was constructed between 1878 and 1890 by William Ulmer, a German immigrant and brewer. Theobald Engelhardt designed the office, main brew house and Engine and Machine House, while Frederick Wunder designed the Stable and Storage Building. The Romanesque Revival complex constructed in the American round arch style is largely intact and an excellent reminder of the prominent industry that dominated Bushwick and Brooklyn in the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The focal point of the complex is the handsome two-story red brick office building with arched and dormered windows, a slate-clad mansard roof and terra cotta ornament. The stable and storage building was sold in the 1920s to Artcraft Metal and Electrical Products who used it as a factory until the 1940s, after which it was occupied by metal fabricators and clothing manufacturers through the 1980s. In 2002 , the building was converted into residential apartments and the complex was landmarked in May of 2010.

The study area of The Bushwiki contains eleven churches representing a diversity of Christian denominations. Many of the churches have been transferred from one congregation to another over their history, such as the Bethesda Baptist Church which was formerly the United Bushwick Avenue Congregational Church. The Reformed Church of South Bushwick, on the other hand, has been in constant use by the same congregation since 1852. The Reformed Church is a remarkable Georgian type masonry church adapted to a Greek Revival style. The center section was completed in 1852 and the side wings were added to the building in the 1880s. The tower, which has deteriorated quite significantly and is in a dangerously dilapidated condition, is modeled on the spires of Wren and Gibbs. The church was designated as a landmark in 1968.

These are a few of the variety of buildings we will be exploring in The Bushwiki. Above you will find links to some particularly notable buildings and please explore the block pages that contains more detailed information about the architecture along Bushwick Avenue.

Notable Buildings