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Re: Old names on Downtown Jersey City buildings tell a story
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It's on the south side of Bright, around the corner from Jersey.

Posted on: 2007/2/26 15:01
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Re: Old names on Downtown Jersey City buildings tell a story
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Quote:

GrovePath wrote:
What's in a name? ...

Luker Bros.

At the top of 83-85 Bright St., the name Luker Bros. is displayed prominently....


This is a nice article. But, if the Jersey Journal can't run a map graphic with an article like this, it ought to consider running cross-street information.

Example: is this address here for Bright Street at Grove, or Bright Street at Jersey Avenue? I think near Grove, but I don't really remember, and I know I walk by this building all the time.

I'm unobservant and have a bad memory, but, if I'm a little lost, it could be that someone who lives in the Heights or even Hamilton Park could be really lost.

Posted on: 2007/2/25 6:25
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Re: Old names on Downtown Jersey City buildings tell a story
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The Guaranty Trust is Romanesque Revival. Romanesque architecture dates back to the 9th century. I believe you can see some fragments of Romanesque architecture at The Cloisters in upper Manhattan, the medieval collection of the Met.

Posted on: 2007/2/24 14:52
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Old names on Downtown Jersey City buildings tell a story
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What's in a name?
Old names on Downtown Jersey City buildings tell a story

Ricardo Kaulessar Hudson Reporter 02/23/2007

Why do buildings in downtown Jersey City have names like Luker Bros. and Guaranty Trust?

Some tell a story of businesses that rose and fell, while others are branded near the roof to memorialize a former use of the facility.

Luker Bros.

At the top of 83-85 Bright St., the name Luker Bros. is displayed prominently.

However, the building is now officially a condominium development called "The Opera.

Designed by architect Edward Patterson, the building was originally the headquarters of the Luker Bros. Livery, where horses were stored. It was built between 1899 and 1900 in the Italianate style, a 19th century architectural form inspired from the Italian Renaissance.

The actual address of the headquarters was 83 and 87 Bright St., including a two-story building that is now an auto garage.

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The 83-85 Bright St. building would eventually become a storage warehouse for the Metropolitan Opera House through the 1960s, as sets and backdrops for opera productions were stored there.

In November 1987, the Opera condos opened with two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 1,410 to 1,870 square feet, with two units devoted to work/live dwellings. There are a total of eight condos in the four-story building.

A bank that closed during the Depression

The New Jersey Title and Guaranty Trust Bank at 83-85 Montgomery St. had a relatively short life. Originally known as the Hudson Storage and Indemnity Company, the bank opened for business in 1888 and closed 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression.

But what the bank left behind was a six-story building bearing its name that in the 1970s became one of the first condo-converted buildings in the city.

The red brick building initially had three stories when built in the 1800s. In 1897, with the growth of the NJ Title and Guaranty Trust Bank, came the expansion of three additional floors.

The building gained landmark designation in 1974 from what was then the Jersey City Historic District Commission, now the Historic Preservation Commission.

A document prepared by the commission in June of that year described how the building is "an excellent example of Romanesque architecture in the manner of H.R. Richardson...and that it makes a notable contribution to the architecture of this City."

Romanesque architecture goes back to the early 18th century and shows an affinity for medieval European and Roman architecture with an emphasis on round arches and barrel vaults. The commission document lists such qualities of the building as arches, Tuscan columns, and a pitched roof.

In 1973, those qualities were rediscovered when Arthur Goldberg, a New York City bond lawyer with roots in Jersey City, formed a corporation to buy the building.

By 1975, it was converted into 13 units and called the Bank Building.

Among those who first lived there was former Hudson County Executive and current felon Robert Janiszewski.

Fischer Bros.

Who were the Fischer Brothers?

A worker at the Milano Furniture Store located on the ground floor of the building did not know, nor did local historians. But their name is on top of the building with the official address of 158 Newark Ave., near the corner of Newark and Erie streets.

What is known is that the building was built in 1892, designed by architect Herman Kreitler in the Queen Anne style that was popular in the late 19th century.

The Queen Anne style is the most flamboyant and eccentric of Victorian house styles. It sometimes includes lavish amenities, gingerbread-type shingles, and asymmetrical features. It was popular during the growth of the Industrial Revolution in the 1880s and 1890s, as trains transported parts that were combined for unusual styles.

The Provident Bank Building

Customers walking into 239 Washington St. are greeted with the words "Provident Institution for Savings." This has not changed since 1890, when the Provident Savings Institution, the first bank in Jersey City and Hudson County and New Jersey's oldest mutual savings bank, opened this new headquarters.

What has changed is the ground floor. The floor also served as the temporary site of the Jersey City Free Public Library when it was first formed, until its present building on Jersey Avenue was constructed.

Today, the bank is there, but the library has moved.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com

Posted on: 2007/2/24 14:08
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