The Franklin Avenue neighborhood of Crow Hill has received its first historic landmark designation.
A group of 13 row houses on Park Place between Franklin and Bedford avenues was designated a Historic District by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
“We’re really thrilled that we have this designation; it’s a beautiful row of houses,” said Nina Melendandri, a Crow Hill Community Association board member who spearheaded the historic designation effort with CHCA vice president Stacey Sheffey.
Completed in 1890, the Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival-style row houses were designed by Joseph Mason Kirby (best known for constructing “Lucy the Elephant,” a 65-foot-high, wood-framed and tin-covered elephant in Margate, New Jersey in about 1881), according to an announcment from the LPC.
In announcing the creation of the Park Place Historic District, the Landmarks Preservation Commission described the row of houses in the following manner: "The 13 houses are of three types, arranged in a symmetrical “A-B-A-B-B-C-A-C-B-B-A-B-A configuration with either flat or pitched roofs, and feature richly decorated, textured facades with patterned brickwork ornamented with projecting knobs. All of the houses retain their stoops and iron railings, and are united by corbelled brick colonettes that are decorated with sunflower plaques."
“After more 120 years, this fine row still has a romantic quality to it, and that’s largely due to the fact that all of the houses have retained so much of their historic fabric,” Chairman Robert B. Tierney said in the announcement.
“That’s a tribute to their previous owners and current owners, each of whom had an important role at the very beginning of the designation process and supported it every step of the way,” he added.
As steel and glass apartment buildings began to fly up in the area around Franklin Avenue, the CHCA started pursuing landmark status for a number of blocks in North Crown Heights.
“It’s a stretch that isn’t landmarked and it’s looking like a target area,” said Melendandri.
But getting the landmark designation is also an effort to recognize some very special architecture in the neighborhood, such as the row houses on Park Place.
“The integrity of the 13 houses is very important. We feel it is important that that it will be preserved in our community,” Melendandri said.