Smithsonian Hall, the only cast-iron building in Greenpoint, was built by Edward Smith, of Smith, Gray & Co. Gray tapped William F. Gaylor, architect for Smith, Gray & Co.'s Broadway cast-iron buildings, as the architect for this project.1
The upper floor of the building was rented for shows and events. The ground floor was occupied a Smith, Gray & Co. clothing store until about 1905. Sometime prior to that date the building had been acquired by the Seventeenth Ward Bank, located across Manhattan Avenue between Milton Street and Greenpoint Avenue. In 1905, the Union Bank of Brooklyn purchased the Seventeenth Ward Bank and its assets2. The Smithsonian Hall building was renovated and became the Seventeenth Ward Branch of the Union Bank in 1906.3
Union Bank of Brooklyn closed its doors in April, 19104, and in June of that year the Smithsonian building was acquired by the Corn Exchange Bank of Manhattan, which relocated its branch formerly located at 143 Franklin Street5.
- 1. “Buildings Projected,” Real Estate Record & Builders’ Guide 22, no. 539 (July 13, 1878): 605.
- 2. “Stockholders Like Merger,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 29, 1905:16.
- 3. “Union Bank’s New Building,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 12, 1906: 28.
- 4. “THE UNION BANK OF BROOKLYN CLOSES; Succeeded Mechanics and Traders’ and Found Its Inherited Burdens Too Heavy.,” New York Times, April 6, 1910: 3.
- 5. “Ready to Sell Bank,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 15, 1910: 18.
896 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222