Pacific Branch, BPL, Brooklyn

25 Fourth Avenue
Raymond F. Almirall, 1903

Brooklyn’s first Carnegie library, the Pacific Branch (named for its location at Pacific Street) was heralded upon completion for its dignified Beaux Arts design. The interior of the building, which has retained its original two-story stacks, was also praised for its light, air and efficient use of space. The building’s brick façades feature prominent limestone trim, including keystones above the arched door and window openings and oversized torches and swags supporting the cornice. The building has had a difficult history, including early damage in 1914 during the construction of the nearby subway, as well as a number of fires. Murals completed in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration graced the second floor for a number of years, but are no longer extant. Despite widespread support, the branch is not a designated city landmark. In 2013, it was under threat of being sold to a developer, but public outcry and political pressure led the BPL to reconsider these plans.