The palatial, four-story mansion at 53 Prospect Park West, with a sprawling garden and a pair of pedestaled lions keeping guard out front, has had a long, rich history in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Built in 1901, just after the borough was incorporated into New York City, the brick-and-limestone structure was part of what was known as the “Gold Coast” of opulent homes that sprang up near Prospect Park around the turn of the last century.
The house was designed by William B. Tubby, the go-to architect for the prominent Pratt family, in a neo-Jacobean style, and was commissioned by William H. Childs, a financier, a supporter of Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party and a founder of the Bon Ami cleaning products company. The mansion remained in his family until 1947, when it was acquired by the nonprofit Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, which supports social justice, among other things. It has used the building as a meeting house and for various programs.
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