The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has recently designated two historic buildings in Far Rockaway, Queens as individual landmarks: the Firehouse, Engine Companies 264 & 328/Hook and Ladder 134 at 16-15 Central Avenue, and the 53rd (now 101st) Precinct Police Station at 16-12 Mott Avenue.
These buildings are outstanding examples of early-20th century civic buildings and represent a period of significant growth in Far Rockaway.
In the decades following the consolidation of the five boroughs, the City commissioned well-known architects to design government buildings such as police stations and firehouses that would distinguish themselves from private structures. These two buildings are examples of this period.
Designed by the architecture firm of Hoppin & Koen, the Far Rockaway Firehouse is a three-story Renaissance Revival style civic building that features three arched vehicle bays, rusticated limestone at the ground floor, and the upper stories are clad in red brick flanked by monumental columns. It is one of only three firehouses designed by this firm that included a wider, three-bay facade. Upon its completion in 1912, the fire company’s name changed to Engine Company 264, and over time Hook & Ladder Company 134 and Engine Company 238 were established at the same location turning the building into the fire headquarters for Far Rockaway.
The Police Station, which combines the Renaissance Revival and Colonial Revival styles, was designed by Thomas E. O’Brien, an architect and the Police Department’s Superintendent of Buildings at the time. Completed by early 1929, it was the first police station built by the City of New York in the Rockaways. Three stories in height with two fully realized primary facades, its symmetrical facades and palazzo-like form are characteristic of the Renaissance Revival style. Complementing the building’s Renaissance Revival style elements is the Colonial Revival style brickwork of its upper floors, which are faced in Harvard brick ranging in color from deep red to dark gray.
Both buildings are remarkably well-preserved and they continue to be Far Rockaway’s most prominent buildings. They also serve as a reminder of the growth and development of Far Rockaway as a permanent community after the consolidation of New York City.
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Photos of Firehouse, Engine Companies 264 & 328 and 53rd Precinct Police Station provided.