DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY HOUSE

105-107 Washington Street
1925
John F. Jackson

The Downtown Community House was built in 1925-26 through a charitable donation given by financier William Hamlin Childs to the Bowling Green Neighborhood Association, a settlement house founded in 1915 to serve residents of Lower Manhattan. The Downtown Community House was intended to expand social services to a large multi- ethnic immigrant resident community. The Colonial Revival style brick building housed a worship space, nursery, recreation facilities, clinic, and residences. In a 1925 article about the building’s cornerstone- laying ceremony, The New York Times noted that ‘’Wall Street financiers rubbed elbows with Nordic, Slav and Levantine neighbors in colorful crowds which packed Washington Street.’’ By the 1940’s, the Downtown Community House was being used for storage and offices- presumably because of the mass displacement of its patrons due to the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. By the late 1960’s, the building was in use as a union hall. The Buddha reliefs within the second- floor window tympana date to the building’s later incarnation as a Buddhist temple.

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