Monday, September 7, 2015

Colored School No. 3 - 270 Union Avenue

Photo of small school building
270 Union Avenue
270 Union Avenue
270 Union Avenue
Colored School No. 3 began as the African Free School of Williamsburg in 1841. The school was annexed by the Williamsburg School District in 1844. The school’s growth required larger facilities and after moving 3 times settled at 270 Union Avenue. In 1868 the original building was deemed unfit for use and 9 years later funds were made available for the school building that remains today.[1] The AIA Guide to New York describes the school as an “Italian Romanesque miniature for a school in Williamsburg’s rural days”.[2]

Built in 1881, the former Colored School No. 3 is a one and a half story Romanesque Revival style building designed by architect Samuel B. Leonard. Leonard was the Superintendent of Buildings and Repairs for the Brooklyn Board of Education from 1859 to 1879. The building was landmarked in 1998 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission report refers to the building as the “last known colored school building in Brooklyn”.[3] The LPC Report describes the architectural details stating:
The school has arched window openings and a prominent entrance with large keystones, a raised central section with a gable and blind arcade, corbeled brickwork, and dentil courses.
The building was named Colored School No. 3 by the Board of Education of the City of Brooklyn, which maintained a race based segregated school system throughout much of the eighteen hundreds. The school’s nomenclature changed in 1887 when it was renamed to P.S. 69.[3] Later, the school was annexed by P.S. 18 and desegregated. The facility became independent school P.S. 191 in 1924, and then closed in 1932. After closing, the building was used by the Public Works Commission for WPA projects until the depression ended. Then, the sanitation department utilized the building until it was abandoned by the city and left to decay.[1] Like many buildings on this blog, the former school was saved by artists. In 1983 James and Linda Clark, artists that needed a place to live and work, purchased the building and still live there today.[1] 

Photo looking up at colored school number 3

  1. "Building of the Day - 270 Union Avenue" Brownstoner 21 February, 2012
  2. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010
  3. Presa, Donald G. NYC Landmark's Preservation Commission Designation Report 13 January, 1998

No comments:

Post a Comment