Empire State Dairy Company (later Borden Dairy Corporation) Buildings

2840 Atlantic Avenue
Theobold Engelhardt and Otto Strack
1906-07 and 1914-15
NYC Individual Landmark

Constructed as a dairy distribution center for the Empire State Dairy Company, this complex was sold soon after completion to the Borden Dairy Corporation. The complex was built in two stages, with the earlier buildings at Atlantic and Schenck Avenues completed in 1907 and the later ones just east on Atlantic Avenue completed in 1915. Unlike most factories, where functionality takes precedence over design, the buildings exhibit fine architectural details, including two remarkable terra cotta murals facing Atlantic Avenue. One depicts a woman leading a cow and a calf to water and the other depicts a man leading a bull to water. The characters in these scenes are set within bucolic, lush landscapes of water, meadows, pines and mountains, harkening to the agrarian beginnings of the dairy industry. The murals were manufactured by the American Encaustic Tiling Company, and are considered the largest extant decorative tile installations by the company. In large part due to the rarity of these art works, members of the local community were instrumental in advocating for the designation of the complex as a New York City Individual Landmark, which was finalized in 2017.