Green-Wood Cemetery – Preservation

cultural & preservation

Green-Wood Cemetery – Preservation

The 1860 Gothic Revival Gate of the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is a treasure of New York City and one of its most important landmarks. Designed by Richard Upjohn & Sons, it is a complex, delicate confection principally of brownstone that introduces at the cemetery entry the mid-19th century explosion of sentiment that sought to transform death itself into a Romantic pastoral fantasy. Despite its delicacy, the gate has survived to the present without major alteration, though much decayed. Our campaign recompleted the gate—remaking lost crockets, colonnettes and finials, stabilizing decorative gables—and undoing the worst results of other restoration campaigns—removing layers of coatings and patches—to give the gate a consistent, appropriate character, all without “over restoring” the gate or otherwise obliterating its obvious witness to the passage of time.

Our next project at the Cemetery was the renovation of Warren and Wetmore’s lacy Gothic 1911 Chapel. The limestone Chapel, inspired by Sir Christopher Wren’s Tom Tower at Oxford University, had gradually fallen out of use and stood empty. The building was restored in phases starting with a campaign to dry out the structure, which was built on a drained lakebed. Cleaning and repointing of the exterior followed. A subsequent phase restored the intimate interior and extensive stained glass.

Most recently we restored the Caretaker’s Residence and Visitor’s Cottage, designed by Richard Upjohn & Sons circa 1876. Work included restoring the characteristic steeply pitched slate roofs, ornamental cast iron crestings, and carved Belleville Brownstone of the Victorian Eclectic style gatehouses. (The design architects for the Gatehouse Restoration were Joseph and Adrienne Bresnan, who retired before construction on the buildings was underway.)

Client

Green-Wood Cemetery

Location

500 25th Street, Brooklyn, New York

Date Completed

2014

Awards

Lucy G. Moses Award, New York Landmarks Conservancy, 2014 (Gatehouses)
Lucy G. Moses Award, New York Landmarks Conservancy, 2001 (Chapel)
Excellence in HIstoric Preservation Award, Preservation League of New York State, 2001 (Chapel)

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