This is the eleventh post of "The Union Street Project," in which I unearth the history of every building along the once bustling Brooklyn commercial strips of Union Street between Hicks and Van Brunt, and Columbia Street between Sackett and Carroll.
I always thought 142 Union Street was a fairly recent addition to the block. The squat, two-story, red-brick, faux castle just didn't have the look of antiquity about it. Perhaps it was an unfortunate creation of the 1970s.
Not so. The below 1920s photo shows the structure had the same silly, grandiose look back then. In fact, the facade is remarkably untouched!
I've long been told that what is now Nancy's Unisex Salon was once a bakery. And the photo bears this out. I can't see the name of the bakery in the picture, but the stacks of fresh Italian loaves are clearly visible. The family that ran the bakery lived upstairs. (I may seem to say "market" in the window, but that's actually a reflection of the awning for the Union Center Meat Market across the street.) City records show the building was owned by one Caroline Mangaro in the 1930s, and was built by built by the firm of Burke & Olsen. The photo also gives us a glimpse of what the block looked like when pushcarts lines the sidewalks. This one sold fruit.
About Burke & Olsen. They were an architectural firm located somewhere in the area. I see their name here and there, and I believe they're responsible for a lot of the buildings around the intersection of Union and Columbia. The name, of course, strongly attests to the Irish and Scandinavian settlements that once thrived in this area.
One oddity about the block of Union Street between Hicks and Columbia: there is no 140 Union Street. The numbers skip from 142 to 138, as can be glimpsed in the photo above. No idea why this is, but it's always been thus.
PREVIOUS UNION SQUARE PROJECT ENTRIES