Designation date: December, 2014
The Chester Court Historic District consists of a picturesque assemblage of 18 Tudor Revival style houses set in two opposing rows along a cul-de-sac, along with an original brick wall that terminates the block. It was designed and built in 1911-12 by Peter J. Collins (1866- 1934), a prominent Brooklyn architect and developer who was born and raised in Brooklyn and served as the borough’s Superintendent of Buildings.
Although the Tudor Revival was well established in Brooklyn by this time as a style for freestanding houses, it had not been widely used for row houses, and the Chester Court houses are likely among the earliest Tudor Revival style row houses in the borough, if not the entire city. Their design was inspired by the renowned timber-framed “black-and-white” or “magpie” buildings of Chester, England, which primarily date from the 16th and 17th centuries, and from the “Black-and-White Revival” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Chester Court’s houses are faced with Flemish-bond red brick at their first stories and stucco with false half-timbering above, alternating square-headed and round-headed openings at their first stories and angled and straight-sided oriels at their second stories. They remain remarkably well-preserved, as all of the houses retain their original clay-tile roofs and many retain their historic wood doors.
The wall at the end of Chester Court, which is attributed to Collins, screens out the adjacent Brighton subway line and contributes to the sense of the district as a distinctive self-contained enclave. Constructed of red brick matching that of the Chester Court houses, it features Flemish-bond pilasters and recessed decorative panels laid in English bond.
Today, Chester Court remains the inviting small street envisioned by Peter J. Collins more than a century ago, an unusually early grouping of row houses inspired by English medieval architecture that is strikingly unchanged from its early-20th-century appearance.
*Excerpt from Landmark Preservation Commission Designation Report
STATUS Designated Historic District
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society