PUBLIC SCHOOL 39, Park Slope

by Kevin Walsh

In a neighborhood chockablock with rich architectural forms, Public School 39, at 6th Avenue and 8th Street in Park Slope, is a standout even among such nearby treasures as the Beaux Arts Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library a block away at 9th Street.

The school opened in 1877 and is a prime representative of the French Second Empire style popular at the time; FSE buildings are recognizable by their use of slanted roofs, known as mansards in the architectural world. The school was subnamed for Henry Bristow (1840-1906), whose home was used as the school during construction of this building; Bristow was a local Congressman, school administrator, member of the Brooklyn Board of Education, and a police justice.

Architect Samuel Leonard added Italianate elements to the building such as arched windows, cornices with medallions, and paired brackets.

Unlike most public schools, whose websites do not talk about the schools’ history and design, PS 39’s website provides rich details such as a history of public schools in Kings County.

Personally, I had spent a great deal of time in Park Slope in the 1980s and 1990s as two pals from college lived there, as well as a cousin and her husband. However, I never encountered this gem until just a couple of years ago!

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Peter Conlon October 2, 2020 - 1:26 pm

********Jacquelyn Leigh Jabbour (later Brett) went there in the 50’s. She lived One Block away on 6th and 7th Street. I went to PS 77 on 2nd Street. In Dec. 1959 I became aware of Her in JHS. She was one year behind me. Fell in Love on the Spot,for Several years. She Moved to Bay Ridge in mid 1961.

********* In 1994 I found out She had passed away from Cancer in Jan. 1985. I was stunned. The Returned Massive Memory and followup was filled with Coincidences that cannot be explained away. She is Buried at Evergreens Cemetery with Her Parents now near the Interboro Pkwy. near the Queens line.

********* I was there in Oct. 1995, and by the School.

******** Absolute Total Devastating Beauty throughout her 37 Years.

******* Could not resost Adding this When I saw the School page here on this site

Paul Deceglie January 11, 2022 - 2:26 pm

I grew up 2 blocks from this school, but attended Saint Thomas Aquinas School, just across the street from my house. As a kid in the 1950s I often passed PS 39 on my way to the equally magnificent architectural gem, the public library just across 8th Street. Even at that age, I recognized and respected unique historical architecture for it’s grace and style. I hope that these buildings survive the onslaught of development that is ravaging my beloved Brooklyn.

gbear January 12, 2022 - 7:49 am

Beautiful building, I attended PS 140, PS 118 on 59th street and fourth avenue, which unfortunately was demolished some time ago. I would appreciate it if someone has a picture of it to post it. Thanks


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