Monday, July 22, 2013

Discovering the History of the Brousseau Buildings

The Brousseau Buildings, or the "Brousseau Bldg" as is etched in the glass of the surviving transom, have been vacant since 2005. Recently, Walter Ritchie researched the history of this pair of turn-of-the-century apartment buildings on the corner of Warren and Second streets and invited Gossips to publish what he discovered.

In 1903, Theodore Brousseau, a brick manufacturer, purchased the lot at the northeast corner of Warren and Second Streets, where he erected a block of two Colonial Revival-style three-story red brick apartment buildings embellished with marble trim. In all likelihood, the brick used to construct the buildings was supplied by Brousseau’s brickyard in Ulster County. The design of the buildings has been attributed to Hudson architect Michael J. O'Connor. 

The two buildings are each three bays wide and five bays deep, separated at the center by an air shaft the extends from the back to approximately the middle of the structures. The air shaft provided light and air circulation to the inner rooms of the apartments. Each building has a pair of entrances that were once fronted by porticoes with Corinthian columns. The elegant marble detailing includes lintels with splayed ends and projecting keystones above the window openings and the water table capping the foundation. In an effort to make the buildings appear more elaborate, the foundation walls, where exposed, were covered with cement scored in imitation of ashlar masonry, or cut blocks of stone. Surmounting the block of buildings is a projecting cornice with modillions over a frieze decorated with ribbon-tied festoons of laurel leaves. 

The two buildings each housed three apartments, one on each level. The apartments consisted of a parlor, dining room, kitchen with pantry, bathroom, and three bedrooms. The parlor and dining room of each apartment were fitted with pressed-tin ceilings and cove moldings featuring neoclassical-style patterns. One of the two adjacent entrances in the main facade of each building provided access to the first-floor apartment while the other led to the apartments on the second and third levels.

The two apartment buildings were owned by three generations of the Brousseau family from 1903/1904 until the 1980s. 

In 2005, the buildings were acquired by T. Eric Galloway, and soon after, the porticoes were removed. Fortunately the buildings, with their porticoes intact, are part of Lynn Davis's monumental Warren Street Project, which documented all the buildings on Warren Street as they were in 1994 and 1995. 



  1. Too bad this building is empty for so long. The lower floor could add some needed retail space in this end of town. It would enhance the neighborhood, as is it's just an eyesore.

  2. Great building. Does anyone know the name and location of Theodore's Ulster County brickyard or his relationship to Edward Brousseau, another Hudson brick maker and businessman?

  3. Up close that pair of Porticos were simply delicious in quality and detail. They were one of my favorite gems of Warren Street, along with the fanciful tin folly doorway at 360 that also disappeared one fateful day.
    True losses for Hudson.