Day 1210

No. 66 Public School

April 23rd, 2015

According to the school's 2010 landmark designation report:

Originally constructed in 1898-9, Public School (P.S.) 66 is a remarkable survivor from a time when Richmond Hill, Queens, was transitioning from a rural farming community into a vibrant residential neighborhood. Three identical schools (two now demolished) were constructed in anticipation of an influx of residents, expected as a result of improvements in transportation, the subdivision of farmlands into lots for residential development, and the consolidation of Queens with Greater New York City that same year. . . .

The two-and-a-half and three-story red brick building is Victorian Eclectic in style. Many of its features are characteristic of the Romanesque Revival style and give the building a fortress-like appearance, including prominent round arches highlighting window openings and the main entrance, a flared base, and a distinctive six-story tower . . . Elements of the Queen Anne style are also present in the building’s large entablatures featuring elaborate rinceaux, its gabled dormers, and the steeply pitched roofs of the 1905-6 addition, which was harmoniously designed in the style of the main section. The tower, which originally contained a bell used to call school children from neighboring farms and developments, is distinguished by round arches, brick corbelling, large masonry columns, and foliate details. An ornamental panel above the main entranceway survives and features the name of the school. . . .

By all accounts, P.S. 66 fared well architecturally until 1967, when wood deterioration in the distinctive bell tower required removal of the belfry above the second story. The Department of Education was unable to rebuild the tower at the time due to the fiscal crisis of the 1970s that affected all areas of New York City government. By the 1990s, the distinctive rinceaux that ornament the original school building were stuccoed over and the slate roof replaced with asphalt shingles . . . A major exterior modernization in 2001, however, returned many of the details that had been removed or altered over the years and included construction of a new bell tower.

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