“WHITE ELEPHANT” BUILDING

44 Westchester Square
ca. 1921

Known locally as “The White Elephant,” this three-story white brick structure stretches for the entire length of a prominent block. The monochrome brick is complemented by a striking variety of multicolored glazed terra cotta, including a band above the first floor retail fenestration and diamond patterning that covers the entirety of the facade above the building’s main entrance. Interestingly, the central archway, now occupied by a retail storefront, once opened inward to feature a round arched halfway lined with tilework. Although this structure never served as a theater, one may infer the building’s intended use from the terra-cotta detailing, which includes representations of theatrical masks and instruments. While never a theater, the White Elephant has hosted a variety of tenants over its long history, including cafes, realtors, and an office of The Bronx Gas & Electric Company.

Less