Samuel Gompers Industrial High School (now Mott Haven Community, Health Education & Research Occupations, and New Visions Charter High Schools) – 455 Southern Boulevard (aka 462 Wales Avenue)
ITEM PROPOSED FOR PUBLIC HEARING
The proposed designation of a vocational high school designed in the Medieval Revival style by William H. Gompert, with modifications by Walter C. Martin, and built in 1931- 32.
As the citywide advocate for New York’s architectural, historical and cultural Landmarks, HDC enthusiastically supports the designation of Samuel Gompers Industrial High School
(now Mott Haven Community, Health Education & Research Occupations, and
New Visions Charter High Schools) as an individual landmark.
This beautiful Medieval Revival style structure, with Art Deco details celebrating skilled laborers and labor organizers, stands at 455 Southern Boulevard in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, and offers a striking and tangible link to New York’s educational and industrial history.
This building is one of more than 170 school buildings throughout the five boroughs designed by William H. Gompert, chief architect and Superintendent of Buildings for the Board of Education from 1923 to 1928. The building’s art deco flourishes were designed by Gompert’s successor, Walter C. Martin, who has been described as “The CBJ Snyder of the New Deal.”
Both Gompert and Martin’s designs are legible in this facade, which makes the building particularly striking, and allows passersby to read the passage of time in the built environment. Though Martin’s Public School 48 at 155-02 108th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens had been designated as an individual landmark, Gompert’s DeWitt Clinton High School at 100 West Mosholu Parkway South in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx remains undesignated.
This points to the dearth of designations in the Bronx more broadly, and the fact that there are many historic resources and treasures in the Bronx that remain unrecognized and unprotected. HDC is glad that the LPC has identified the borough as an area of focus under its Equity Framework and hopes this single individual landmark is just the first step in a much larger amount of designations in the borough, both individual landmarks and new historic districts.
HDC has a long history working with communities in the Bronx to support preservation throughout the borough. This year, HDC is focused on preservation initiatives spearheaded by our Six to Celebrate Partners in Parkchester and Van Nest. More broadly, HDC’s Bronx Borough Landmarks Preservation Committee includes representatives from communities across the Bronx. The Committee is currently compiling an updated list of more than 150 meritorious properties throughout the borough. We look forward to sharing this list with the LPC shortly and we hope that the LPC will make good on its promise to devote time and resources to the Bronx, and will continue to recognize and designate the rich architectural and cultural heritage of the borough.