Monday, April 14, 2014

The Montauk Club in Park Slope

The Montauk Club's south facade
Montauk Club South Facade
The Montauk Club from the corner of Lincoln Place and Plaza Street West
Montauk Club from Corner
Located on 8th Avenue and Lincoln Place, the Montauk Club (1889) was a Victorian era gentlemen's club designed by architect Francis H. Kimball. The Montauk was one of the only Victorian era gentleman's clubs to included separate facilities for the gentleman's wives. Originally the top two floors contained bedrooms and the first, second and third floors were for dining and entertaining. There was also a bowling alley in the basement.[1] The Montauk is one of the few surviving clubs from its time and continues to serve its members, as well as the Park Slope community by hosting "talks by local authors, jazz performances, Prohibition era cocktail functions and Victorian era salon parties". The club house also provides a venue for member's personal and business entertaining.[2]


Facade of the Pennsylvania Convention Center - Terminal Headhouse
Pennsylvania Convention Center - Philadelphia
(Designed by Francis H. Kimball)
The builders:
Francis H. Kimball had worked for London architect William Burges and had many noteworthy buildings credited to his name including the Pennsylvania Convention Center - Reading Terminal Headhouse in Philadelphia (pictured above), Manhattan Life Insurance Building and the Empire Building.[1][3] He was also partially responsible for establishing a "New York School" of architecture during the same time that architects like Louis Sullivan were establishing the well known "Chicago School" of architecture.[3] In addition to the building's well known architect it is worth noting that the stone mason responsible for the Montauk Club's construction was Charles T. Mills, the most highly regarded stone mason in New York City to the time. Some of the buildings Mills was responsible for constructing include: the DeLamar House, University Club of New York and Pierpont Morgan Library.[1]

Montauk Club loggia with terra cotta frieze above
Montauk Club Loggia with Montauk Indian Frieze Above
Panoramic image of the terra cotta Montauk Indian narrative ornamentation
Montauk Club - Montauk Indian Terracotta Ornament
The building:
The building's design is based on the Venetian floral Gothic style and when I first laid eyes on the Montuk Club I was immediately reminded of building I saw in Venice (pictured below). The quatrefoil spandrels, inflected arch windows, balustraded balconies and loggias all harken back to Venetian Gothic architecture. Venice's Ca' d'Oro and Palazzo Pisani Moretta have been cited as models for the deign of the Montauk. The building materials used in the construction of the Montauk Club are brownstone and brick with terracotta ornamentation. Much of the building's terracotta ornamentation depicts narratives of the Montauk Indians.[1] 


Reference image of the Palazzo Pisani Moretta in Venice Italy
Palazzo Pisani Moretta - Venice, Italy
Included here is a photo of the Palazzo Pisani Moretta for comparison. Note the quatrefoil motif and similar roof line.



References:

  1. Morrone, Francis An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2001
  2. "The Montauk Club" Montaukclub.com.
  3. "Kimball Symposium" The Skyscraper Museum. Online. 2007