03 May 2012

Roof Message

I've passed by this old building at Broadway and S. 6th Street, which houses the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, hundreds of times. I must be blind, because, until the other day, when approaching it from the west during a lovely sunset, I did not notice the spectacular roof tiling. It spells out, in red tiles, K.C. Savings Bank—that is, Kings County Savings Bank.

The building was erected in 1868 by the firm of King and Wilcox. King was none other than Gamalial King, the carpenter who created Brooklyn's Borough Hall. As the AIA Guide points out, it looks more like a millionaire's mansion than a bank. It was built in the French Second Empire style. The building operated as a bank until 1989. A restoration of the structure began in 1999.

Looking at past pictures of the building, I realize I may not have noticed the roof because it was sometimes covered with a billboard. 

1 comment:

mingusal said...

I have long wondered if that sign was part of the original roof shingling pattern, or if it was added after the bridge opened in 1903. My guess is the latter, since there would seemingly be no reason to put in a sign that's barely visible from the street, but I have no evidence for that. I know though that the first time I ever noticed that sign was when I was driving across the bridge.