Former 23rd Regiment Armory

1322 Bedford Avenue
Fowler & Hough and Isaac Perry, 1891-95

This grand, fortress-like structure was constructed by the State of New York for Brooklyn’s 23rd Regiment, which formed in the 1860s and served briefly in the Civil War. This was the regiment’s second home, after it outgrew its first armory on Clermont Street, built in 1872-73. The armory was used to train soldiers and store equipment, but also as a military club for soldiers and veterans, so in addition to a vast drill hall, the interior also had a library, company rooms, and dining rooms. The imposing brick, stone, and terra cotta exterior has eight crenellated towers, the tallest of which rises to 136 feet. The main entrance on Bedford Avenue is located within a rusticated round archway with a decorative iron gate. Terra cotta friezes display the regimental motto and coat of arms. To the right of the entrance bay is a bronze plaque sculpted by J. Massey Rhind in 1922 to commemorate the regiment’s sacrifices during World War I. In 1905, the vast drill hall was home to Brooklyn’s first automobile show, and in the mid-1920s, it was leased to William Randolph Hearst as a silent film studio. The armory remained in operation until 1982, when the building was converted to a men’s homeless shelter.

The Former 23rd Regiment Armory is a New York City Individual Landmark and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.