Walkabout with Montrose: A Mighty Fortress: Conclusion

On Nov. 19th, 1893, the New York Times wrote about three new impressive armories in various stages of completion. They concluded that with these new armories, in addition to the Williamsburg and Clermont Armories, that “there would be no city in the state in which the National Guard is better housed than in Brooklyn.” The new armories were the 13th Regiment Armory at Sumner Ave in Bedford Stuyvesant, the 23rd Regiment Armory at Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, and the 14th Regiment Armory on 8th Avenue in Park Slope. See Flickr link for more photos.

13th Regiment Armosry (Sumner Armory), Bed Stuy: Architect Rudolph.L. Daus designed what is probably Brooklyn’s largest and most imposing armory, which the 13th moved into in 1894. The building is a block long, block wide Norman keep, with features of the Mexican castle at Chapultepec, where Daus lived for a number of years, incorporated into its features. He must have been expecting an invasion, because the building has 2 huge defensible front towers, with inner ramparts and observatories, a center 2nd floor rampart to defend the entrance, as well as 8 smaller towers which guard the administration building and drill hall. Kings County paid for the armory, which was supposed to come in at $300K. It ended up costing $700K, a fact that was certainly noticed by many NYC politicos and newsmen of the day. For their money, they got a richly appointed administrative wing, with basement rifle galleries, firing room, drill rooms and large lavatories and locker rooms. They were also getting a pool and 12 bowling alleys. Upstairs, the council room, officer’s quarters, and Veteran’s Association rooms were nicely done, in oak and the proper accoutrements, and a gymnasium, library, band and color guard room, mess-hall, kitchen and lecture room filled out the rest of the administrative wing. As impressive as that is, the enormous drill shed took up most of the space, at 300 by 200 feet, with arched iron trusses spanning the 200’ span. It had wide galleries on 3 sides, and an enormous skylight in the center of the arched roof.

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