Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Former Bank (not a victim of the current recession)

I happened upon the former Twenty-Sixth Ward Bank on the same trip that led me to the Wartburg Chapel, though this particular institution has been far better covered on Brooklyn blogs. Consequently, today's post will merely be a compendium of other articles on this strange bank-facade-condo-development mash-up that graces the southwest corner of Atlantic and Georgia Avenues.

-The writer of Lost City noticed the bank on his way out to JFK, though he was only able to turn up the basic information on the bank's founding (1889) and its subsequent mergers (whatever assets it accumulated that still hold value currently belong to Chase. I found the same information here, at Bob Kerstein's New York Bank History.

-The East New York Project has a far more comprehensive article on the bank, including photos of the original structure, a grand castle of orange-y brick with a greystone facade (the only part of the original structure that remains). I wonder why they decided to save only this piece, given how strange and neutered the building looks in its current iteration. Facade preservation of this sort usually results from landmark status,but I couldn't find the bank on any registry.

-Forgotten NY (with a working link!) has a piece about the bank and some old photos that uses its title as an introduction to the old ward system of Brooklyn. The city started with 9 wards in 1837, and kept adding them until the 1898 merger. NYC had wards as well, though they eventually went over to districts and council members. A ward is represented to the city by an alderman (a title used across genders), a system that derives from England and is still used in the USA, most prominently in that bastion of old-style urban politics, Chicago.

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