Brooklyn Union Gas Co. Building landmarked

176 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights. Image: Courtesy of LPC.

Neo-Classical building served as Brooklyn Union Gas Company headquarters. On May 10, 2011, Landmarks designated the Brooklyn Union Gas Company Building at 176 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights as an individual City landmark. Designed by Frank Freeman and completed in 1914, the eight-story, Neo-Classical building served as the headquarters for the Brooklyn Union Gas Company. Freeman was perhaps best known for his Romanesque Revival projects, including the landmarked Brooklyn Fire Headquarters and Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company Building.

The limestone-clad Brooklyn Union Gas building features a two-story granite base with fluted columns. The building’s two-story capital features an arcade of Ionic columns and a deeply projecting cornice. The building’s decorations of flaming torches and oil lamps alluded to the company’s purpose.

The Brooklyn Union Gas Company, founded in 1924 as the Brooklyn Gas Light Company, got its start primarily providing gas to Brooklyn’s established residential areas. The company grew by merging with or purchasing its rivals, and it sought a headquarters that would house the company’s many divisions. Brooklyn Union Gas occupied offices in the building until 1962 when St. Francis College purchased the property and converted the building into an academic facility.

At an August 2010 hearing, representatives from St. Francis College, the Brooklyn Heights Association, and the Historic Districts Council testified in support of designation. No one spoke in opposition.

Landmarks unanimously approved designation, with the Commissioners praising the building and its architect. Commissioner Fred Bland suggested that Frank Freeman was the most important architect associated with Brooklyn. Chair Robert B. Tierney thanked St. Francis College for its support and its custodianship of the building.

LPC: Brooklyn Union Gas Company Building, 176 Remsen Street, Brooklyn (LP-2336) (May 10, 2011).

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