Art Deco Dairy Building Could Become Protected Clinton Hill Landmark

By Janet Upadhye on February 20, 2013 7:25am 

CLINTON HILL — The headquarters of a one-time dairy processing center has been slated for landmarking in Clinton Hill. 

It’s been nearly six years since the Society for Clinton Hill asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect the Myrtle Avenue art deco-style building, known as the M.H. Renken Dairy Co. office.

The commission announced recently that it would consider the building.

“We were thrilled to hear that the commission finally put this unique structure on their landmarking calendar,” said Sharon Barnes, co-chair of the Society for Clinton Hill’s Landmarks Committee. “We have been waiting quite a while for this development.”

The Renken building is just one of five Clinton Hill structures that the Society for Clinton Hill has been fighting to have landmarked since 2007. Others include the NYPD's 88th Precinct's fortress-castle-style building and St. Mary's Episcopal Church, both on Classon Avenue.

“I don’t know if the landmarking of the Renken Building is a step forward for us,” Barnes said. “We recommended four others that are equally important, does this mean they will still consider the other four?”

Barnes has yet to get a clear answer from the Landmarks Preservation Commission and they did not respond to calls for comment.

Still, the possible landmarking of the pale yellow bricked Renken building with a vertical tower and granite entryway built in 1932 is a win for preservationists.

To Barnes, the building represents a more complete picture of life in Clinton Hill during the last century. The building has historical relevance when considering the rise of Myrtle as a shopping district and it recalls a more pastoral time in Brooklyn, when fresh milk was delivered to the doorsteps of local residents.  

Barnes is hopeful that the Landmarks Commission will still consider the other proposed sites.

“We are going to keep pushing and hoping,” she said.

The Landmarks Commission has not yet set a date for the public hearing.

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