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| Red Hook, Brooklyn, Mid to Late 1800s|
This page is an attempt to look at what was happening in Red Hook, and to a lesser extent Carroll Gardens, from the mid 1800s to around 1900.
My ancestors, the Petermanns, Kettlers and Peters(en)s lived in Red Hook/Carroll Gardens in the 1880s and 1890s
When my husband and I moved to Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in 1992 we thought we were the first members of our family to ever set foot in Brooklyn - only to find out that we both had family whose first stop in the United States was in Red Hook, Brooklyn not far from where we live.
Population of Red Hook in the late 1880s
In the mid to late 1880s the foreign born population of Red Hook was predominately Irish, followed by German. In 1886 the Brooklyn Eagle Almanac gave the following statistics based on the 1880 census.
Brooklyn had a population 566,663 - 177,694 were born in foreign countries.Red Hook Today
Today Red Hook is a section of Brooklyn that lies inland from the New York Harbor just south of the Gowanus Expressway and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Before the Gowanus Expressway was build in the 1950s Red Hook also included the neighborhood now known as Carroll Gardens. Red Hook and Carroll Garden were in Wards 6 and 12.
Why Did My Ancestors End Up in Red Hook
The Norwegians, Germans and other northern Europeans were drawn from the shipping centers in their home countries to the growing shipping centers in Brooklyn, especially in Red Hook.
View from Gowanus Heights circa 1840 after an engraving by William Henry Bartlett. Unsigned. The Delaplaine house is on the right. Red Hook is pretty much dead center.|
Red Hook's Inception
Major commercial development started in Red Hook, Brooklyn in the 1840s with the building of the Atlantic and Erie Basins.
James Stranahan and the Atlantic Dock company hired local Irish laborers to build the basin at a wage of 65 cents for a 13 hour day. When the Irish laborers went on strike for better wages in 1846 the company sent to Germany for two boatloads of German laborers who were happy to have the free passage to America and were delighted to be employed at 50 cents a day. Riots ensued and the Irish laborers causes such a "disturbance" that the military had to be called in. They set up a line of cannons and protected the German laborers as they went to work. A certain level of animosity continued between the two groups well into the 1800 and 1890s.
The Germans were housed in wooden shanties along what was in 1872 Van Brunt street. Housing laborers in temporary shelters was a common practice of the day.
James S. T. Stranahan owned much of the property in the area. He hired the local Irish immigrants to cut away the high ground known as Bergen Hill and deposited the dirt in the swamp west of Hicks street. Many of the Irish workers squatted in Red Hook.
The Atlantic Basin, build in 1847 by the Atlantic Dock Company, was an enclosed safe harbor for sailing ships. The Hamilton Ferry was original started in 1846 to facilitate traffic to and from Greenwood Cemetery. The Erie Basin around the "hook" from the Atlantic Basin was opened in 1864. All three were important components in the development of the Red Hood area.
Red Hood/Carrol Gardens in the 1850s & 60s|
"The Atlantic Docks had recently been built and the Hamilton Ferry established. The streets had many of them been graded, but there were few houses. A large hill extended from Forth Place to Degraw Street, and from Columbia street nearly to Gowanas canal, which was some forty to fifty feet in height, was being removed.1852: STORE FOR SALE OR TO LET - NEW THREE STORY BRICK STORE WITH DWELLING ABOVE, CORNER OF VAN BRUNT AND VAN DYKE - "first rate stand" for grocery or liquor store 20 feet wide by 50 feet deep, walls hard finished, folding doors, marble mantels on second floor.
1852: The Sixth Ward was a hive of building activity and street improvements. Conover, Richards, Wolcott and Dykemen street had recently been filled in, graded and paved. Houses were rising all over the area. According to the Brooklyn Eagle Mr. T. Bannon had erected four three story brick buildings on Van Brunt near the corner of Dykeman. The corner was said to have been occupied by a grocery. Nearby was an "elegant building" whose first floor was occupied by the liquor business of Mr. Cavanagh. See Cavanagh.
1853: FOR SALE - 7 valuable lots on the north easterly corner of Van Brunt and Partition streets. "This is undoubtedly the most valuable corner for business purposes in this rapidly improving neighborhood." 100 feet front on Van Brunt and 115 feet on Partition. Both streets were paved.
1859: For sale to mechanics "and other of small means" several three story brick dwellings on Van Brunt near the Atlantic Docks.
1860: For Sale - house and lot northeast side of Dikeman street 100 feet southeast of Van Brunt, thence southeast 25 feet.
Gas Lights were installed on Van Brunt and Imlay in 1861
FOR SALE - 3 Story brick house and lot on Van Brunt near Ewen street, store on 1st floor with show glass window, gas fixtures, shelving etc., good for dry goods, milliners, "house in nice order" h 10 rooms in addition to the store, 5 minute walk from Hamilton ferry. $3,000.1863: $"1,000 will buy the only vacant lot on the east side of Van Brunt between William and King street." 1865: February FOR SALE - Vacant lots near the Atlantic Docks, two lots each 25x100 on Walcott near Richard.
In August 1866 there was a cholera epidemic in Red Hook. There were 96 fatalities in the 12th ward and 19 in the 6th Ward in the last two weeks of August 1866. The neighborhood was described a filthy and filled with "low Irish".
The 1866 epidemic of cholera in Brooklyn was described thus:
Of 471, the number of fatal cases of cholera to September 29th, 224 occurred in the 12th ward. This ward is situated almost wholly on Red Hook, which was originally a group of small islands and peninsulas, intersected and overflowed by tide-water. Much of it is "made land," and all lies low and level, and is almost wholly without sewerage. The water still flows over portions of it, and stands in filthy pools on many of the lots lying below the level of the street, and are receptacles of animal and vegetable matters, which lie in large quantities exposed to sun and water. Throughout the ward the privies have close vaults, which, during the summer, were mostly found full, and in many instances overflowing. Part of the 6th ward is similarly situated and filthy. Examination of both wards by sanitary inspectors discovered a densely crowded population in some of the most sickly points, with various nuisances of serious detriment to health. Pigs, goats and cows were numerous; cellars were sometimes inhabited by families, or piled deep with filth and garbage, the accumulation of years, and slops were generally poured upon the street.
Brooklyn docks 1916, Pictorial History of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Eagle 1916|
This 1916 "Bird's Eye View" of the Brooklyn waterfront shows Red Hook in the left half of the image:
In the 1880 census the foreign born population was predominately Irish, followed by Germans. There were some Italians, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, French, Belgians, Canadians, English, and Scotts.
By August 1881 the water front from the Erie Basin to the Atlantic Docks was "fringed" with warehouses, storage yards, ship yards and shipping.
An 1886 map of "part of Ward 12" shows warehouse lining the Atlantic Basin and Erie Basin. In the northern part of Ward 12 several manufacturing establishments were indicated: Eggleston Spring Co, Richardson & Boynton Stove Works, S. Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Works, Hydraulic Pump Works, a glassworks, "Cheeseborough" Vaseline*, Atlantic Flour Mills, a sugar house, and a lumber yard, and Pioneer Iron Works.
Red Hook's Shanty Towns
In 1872 near Van Brunt and Elizabeth there was a "shanty town".
Ward 6 and 12 in 1885
THE CONDITION OF BROOKLYN'S STREETS AND HOUSES (Brooklyn Daily Eagle 9 May 1885)
IN THE SECOND DISTRICT
This snippet of an 1877 Currier and Ives print shows Red Hook Point with Governors Island in the foreground. Directly across from Governors Island to the right of the sail boat is the Hamilton ave ferry. To its right, the long rectangular structure is the Atlantic basin. I am not sure that the smoke stacks are accurately placed but they do give the feeling of what the air quality must have been like at the time.
The Police Department
Red Hook was in the 11th Precinct.
The Precinct was "bounded" by Sackett street and 4th place to the north, the Gowanus canal to the east and the river and bay to the south and west.
By 1874 the 11th precinct was headed by Thomas J. Cornell and located on the corner of Van Brunt and Seabring in a building that the city rented. The facility was declared unfit to serve its purposes and to accommodate the police force who slept at the station while on duty. A committee was formed to determine what could be done to improve the facility or build a new station. Finally in 1887 a new location was found at the corner of Rapelye and Richards. It was opened in 1889.
For more information on the station house and the police force in Red Hook in the mid to late 1800s go to Police and Fire Department in Red Hook
The Fire Department
A paid fired Department was established in Brooklyn in 1869. A fire station located in Red Hook was especially importent due to the exceptionally high potential for fires in the warehouses and factories. It is surprising how frequently volatile substances like oils, tars and resin where stored or processed next to flammable materials like cotton and lumber.
Engine Company No. 2 was established with a fire house at Van Brunt and Seabring in 1869. The building still stands.
The first floor has been altered but the upper floor appears to be relatively unchanged.
Originally the company covered the 6th and 12th Wards and the area around the Gowanus and as far as Bay Ridge. By 1890 it's area was more limited and it did not go to the Gowanus until a second alram was sounded. By 1892 the district was bounded by Atlantic Avenue, the water front and the Gowanus, responding to 44 first alarm calls.
For more information on the Red Hook Fire Department and the men who served in it go to Police and Fire Department
Long Island College Hospital and St. Peter's Hosptial.
Long Island College Hospital Henry Street near Atlantic - date unknown.
A 1886 map of the area shows two public school (No 30 on Wolcott Street and No 27 on Nelson near Hicks Street) and a Roman Catholic school on Verona street west of Richards.
Conover Street, east side, from Wolcott to Sullivan Streets, showing Public School No 30. The part of the school shown in this view is on Walcott Street and was erected in 1868.The school was enlarged (or rebuilt) and by 1930 was a four story brick building with white stone trim. PS 27
Public 27 School, Nelson Street near Hicks (later 27 Huntington Street) PS 27 opened in January 1861. The Brooklyn Public Library says the building was erected in 1869. It was enlarged in 1890, again in 1936 and once more in 1941.
|Photo 2010, Maggie Land Blanck|
Miss Agnes Y Humphrey was the principal of Public School No 27 on Nelson near Hicks starting in 1865. By 1872 she was running "one of the best managed and most flourishing schools in the city" with an average daily attendance of 1,200 children.
In 1872 Miss Humphrey was the principal when a "reunion of scholars" took place on December 7, 1872
No. 27, under the excellent management of Miss Humphrey, is in a flourishing condition and boasts among its scholars some of the most intelligent and precocious in the city."She was still a principal in 1889, although I am not sure she was still at No. 27.
Living Conditions and Health Hazards
Residential conditions in Red Hook in the mid to late 1800s must have been relatively miserable. The factories and "works" certainly exuded air pollution and noxious odors. There seems to have been a high incidence of fires and explosions.
Work hazards were numerous and included accidents and chemical poisoning.
Chemical poisons included: White lead and phosphorus. White lead poisoning was a danger in paint and chemical factores. Phosphorus was a danger in match factories.
It was known in the 1880 that air pollution caused lung desease.Health Concerns - Malaria - the Department of Health
1873:Noise"Obstructed culverts and receiving basins, gutters, filthy from accumulated street manure, and stagnant water; sidewalks unsafe for public trave, and streets filthy with accumulated manure and garbage. " Culverts Report Health Department, City of Brooklyn, September 1873Specific conditions were report at specific locations: Most of the reports for Red Hook listed "filthy streets and gutters" On the corner of Van Brunt and Van Dyke streets the sewer was obstructed.
General noises heard by the neighborhood regardless of occupation would have included: boat whistles, fire engines, explosions, factory machinery, blast furnaces, medal works, lumber sawing, escaping steam, construction thumps, the clop of horse's hoofs on the cobblestones, the rumble of carts and heavy wagons, squeals and whines.
"The foul stenches of the manure factories are greatly intensified by the sewer gas emanations of Gowanus Canal - the receptacle of the Bond Street sewer. Into it is poured the sewage of a large area of the densest portion of the city; and here, in the midst of the foul emanations which poison the air of the region, thousands of workingmen in the coal-yards, barges and lumber-yards have to earn their daily bread. Thousands more have their homes in the immediate vicinity, for the neighborhood is fast filling up, notwithstanding its foulness, because men here find work, and because here houses are cheap at the time of May* moving; and many who avail themselves of their cheapness, sadly experience the reason of it on the first setting in of hot weather."*As crazy as it may sound, from colonial times until after World War II May 1st was a traditional moving day in New York and other cities around the country. Most leases were renewed as on May 1st, perhaps because spring was viewed as a good time of year to move. Thousands of people moved on May 1st every year!!!! See May Moving Day
In 1909 employees who worked on the East Central Pier of the Atlantic Docks were complaining bitterly about a sewer that emptied out under the pier. Several men were said to have taken ill. The odor was terrible. It was believed that the sewer came from either the India Wharf Brewing Company or the "molasses house" next to it.Heat"It is not easy to see why andy sewer should be permitted to empty at this point, as there is a large trunk sewer on the other side of the block, running through Hamilton avenue and discharging near the Ferry." (BE)Similar complaints had been made for year by employees at Pier 11, further up the line towards Brooklyn Heights. The Chesebrough Vaseline company routinely dumped it's waste in shat is now Coffey Park. In addition, Chesebrough oil pipes which ran from the piers to Richards street sometimes burst spilling oil in the streets.
In the 1880s people wore more clothes than they do today. Women wore long skirts with petticoats. There was NO air-conditioning. There were NO refrigerators in the average home - NO way to make ice for a cold drink.Cold
Many working class women did not own coats. They wrapped themselves in as many petticoats and shawls as they could find.Work Dangers
In February 1872 Samuel McNab, laborer age 35, was severely injured when he was struck on the head and shoulders by a beam that fell 20 feet from a loft at the beard's Stores. He was taken to Long Island Hospital. As with most workers of the time he lived close to his job; In this case, at Conover and Wolcott streets.Deceases
There was a high instance of infectious deceases such as Yellow fever, small pox, measles, diphtheria, typhoid fever, TB (consumption) etc. near ports.South Brooklyn "Garbage" Dumps
In 1886 Brooklyn paid about $675,000 for the removal of ashes. Over 260,000 loads were carted to South Brooklyn where they were deposited in "low lots". These loads obviously included more than ash as they were the reputed hunting grounds of the South Brooklyn rag pickers. See 88 - 90 Sheriff Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan as a Microcosm of Little Germany (Kleindeutchland) for information and images of New York rag pickers.White Lead
White lead poisoning was a devastating condition suffered by many people who worked in lead paint factories.Match Factories
There were at least two match factories in Red Hook in the mid 1800s: William H Rogers at Delevan and Columbia and Willis & son at 57 Seabring St.Industrial Waste
Rivers and creeks were basically used as a dumps. In Newtown Creek, which separates Brooklyn from Queens the situation was so bad that the river sludge dumped by Standard Oil company actually caught on fire in 1884.Loss of Job to Illness and/or Injury
If a person was injured on the job they were more or less out of luck. There was little or no financial or other assistance for injured workmen in the United States before the end of the 1890s. If the injured workmen could prove that his injury was totally the responsibility of his employe he could sue for damages.Seasonal and Other Periods of Unemployment
In the winter of 1893 the Brooklyn Eagle reported "hard times" and major unemployment and called Red Hook one of the poorest districts in the city with hundreds of people who were willing to work but could not find jobs. The pastor of Visitation church said that most of the people living in Red Hook were "of the laboring classes". Lidgerwood Manufacturing was said to be on the verge of closing "which would throw 500 men out of work". Wages at the "hydraulic works" had been cut and the "men were working half time". The Vaseline works and the stone works were "running on short time". Shipping was down. The only sector said to have been doing well in the previous months were the canal boatmen.Discomforts at home
Most people did not have running water. Cold water flats were the norm. Most residences and workers in Red Hook in late 1800s probably used an outhouse or a privy. There was no central heating or AC. Most people did not have electric lighting. Oil lamps, kerosine lamps and gas lighting were smelly and dangerous.Discomforts at Work
Work hours were long in the mid to late 1800s. Thirteen hour days were common and 18 hour shifts were not unheard of. In winter this certainly indicated working while it was dark outside.Early Electrical Lighting in Homes By Steve O'Bannon, email@example.com Cool site with a lot of images relating to early electric lighting.
Runaway horse wagons were an ever-present danger. The news papers were filled with stories of injuries incurred by out of control horses and wagons. Ice wagons and Brewery wagons seemed to be major culprits.Fire
Large and small fires were an ever present danger.House Flies
With the advent of the widespread use of electricity, including the concept of the electric motor to propel vehicles, it was speculated that the house fly would disappear.Child LaborHouse flies to Disappear
In many working class families both husband and wife would work until children were born. Then the wife/mother would stop working. The mother/wife may take in piece work or the family may live with parents or take in boarders to make ends meet until the children were old enough to join the work force and contribute to the family income.
Woman in the Work Force
There were several instances of Red Hook women (either married or widowed) running taverns, bars and/or restaurants. Married women were also midwifes and wet nurses. Widows were frequently janitresses, dress makers, seamstresses, laundresses, cooks and hat makers.
Death in Ward 12 in 1875
The 1875 census indicates 20 deaths in the 4th district of Ward 12: 13 children under the age of 4 years and 7 adults. The childhood deaths included: 2 young infants from inflammation of the lungs, one infant from spasms, 5 toddlers from diphtheria, one 4 year old with inflammation of the lungs, 1 toddler with cholera "infantum", 1 toddler with water on the brain, 1 eight month old with convolutions, 1 two month old with cramps. The adult deaths included: a 30 year old female with heart disease, a 22 year old female with consumption (TB), a 46 year old female with consumption, a 50 year old male with dropsy, a 51 year old male with heart disease, a 70 year old female with hemorrhage of the lungs, and a 43 year old male with congestion of the lungs.
In 1886 a day nursery was run by the Children's Home Industrial School of the Brooklyn Children's Aid Society at 139 Van Brunt across from the India Wharf. It contained a kindergarden for "very small children" a sewing school and a day nursery for children under six years of age. It was opened from 7 A. M. until 7 P. M. daily except Sunday. It was housed in a plain red brick three story building with lots of windows.
How to Cool Off on a Hot Day
ON THE DOCKS AFTER A HOT DAY
People wore pretty much the same clothes winter and summer. Long pants and long sleeve shirts for men - long skirts and long sleeve shirts for women. In summertime the shirt sleeves might be rolled up. And in the winter women added more petticoats. In the winter people added more layers of the same type of clothing as they wore in the summer. Notice, that as hot as it is, most of the men and women are wearing hats.
One might hope for a bit of breeze near the water's edge. There was no AC.
In an attempt to clean the "great unwashed" floating baths were introduced in New York City in the early 1870s. They were opened seasonally from June to October and were free to the public. The city considered them a means of providing cleanliness whereas the local population considered them a means of recreation. Originally the water in the baths was river water.
There were also private floating baths although I do not know if there were any in the Red Hook area.
On a hot summer day many men and boys would swim in the river in the nude.
"Free Floating Baths, Foot of Conover Street" - Brooklyn Eagle Post Card, Series 38, No. 224
In 1877 appointments were made in Brooklyn for a keeper, assistant keeper and matron for "the floating bath" (no mention of locality). However, "The committee on Truant Home offered a resolution that the foot of Reed and Conover streets be designated as the permanent location of the new floating bath." (BE, May 1, 1877) 1879: Conover Street baths September 25, males, 1,161, boys 1,800, women, 540, girls 726 total 4,-27
1883: June 11 - The residents of the 12th ward were waiting patiently for the arrival of the free swimming baths at the fot of Conover street.
1885: Conover street baths admission for the week preceding July 27 - Men 3,203; boys 12,209; women 1,117; girls 1,700
For the season up to that point - Men 18,860; women 5,163; boys 56,891; girls 11,350.
1885: Aug - Complaints were received in Mayor Low's office about Public Bath No 2 on Conover Street. The baths had been opened at irregular times on Sunday July 26 and Aug 2 when a charge of five cents was made for admissions to over 1150 people. The money was received by the watchman. It was said the money was a fee for towels and "tights". The rules stated that a 10 cents deposit should be make for a towel and that upon the return of the towel a seven cent reimbursement would be made. It was recommended that action be taken to prevent the opening of the baths at irregular hours.
1885: Bernhard Doherty, former keeper of the Public Bath no 2 at the foot of Conover Street, went missing November 22, 1885. His body was found under a log in the river near the bath house, on December 4 with his watch in his hand and the time stopped at 2:47.
1889: Bath hours No. 2 Conover street: 5 A. M. to 9 P.M. week days and 5 a. M. to noon Sunday.
July 1889: During the week prior to July 29, 1889 more than 32,000 men, women, boys and girls had used the three city baths in Brooklyn. The highest usage was the Conover street baths.
July 1890: For the week ending July 20: Bath No 2 foot of Conover, men 1,375, boys 5,200, women 800 girls 1,300.
August 1896: August 10, during the previous week 63,559 men, women, boys and girls used the three Brooklyn public baths. " The greatest number of people went to the Conover street bath because "it is the only one in the Eastern district, nearly forty thousand went there last week".
"Interior of a Swimming Bath"
Legislation was passed in 1896 to establish a free floating bath in Brooklyn's sixth ward.
Brooklyn floating bath No. 4 was at the foot of Conover street in September 1889 when a storm wave forced it against the dock and caused some minor damage.
In 1905 there were five floating baths in Brooklyn: Foot of Noble Street, North First Street, Dock Street, Conover Street, and 58th Street. The United States Volunteer Life Saving Corps gave free swimming lessons in all the free floating baths in New York City.
In 1906 the bath at Conover street was "towed to position" on June 11. It was still in existence at Conover street in 1911. The baths closed in September. In the 90 days the baths were opened at Conover street in 1905 they were used by 104,465 bathers.
The baths in Manhattan had separate days for men and women. I do not know if that was true in Brooklyn, but I would assume so.
Work and Wages
Longshoremen made $2.50 a day in 1875 (per 1875 census)
In 1886 there was a strike for better wages. The longshoreman were asking for an increase in wages from 20 cents and hour to 25 cents and hour.
Entertainment and Recreation
In 1895 after numerous lengthy delays it was announced that Red Hook was to get a park. The designated site was slightly larger than the present Coffey Park. It had been passed over by real estate developers due to its "low marshy condition". It was also next to a smelly oil refinery and filled with industrial waste.
There are lots of indications that the local Red Hook population found many ways to amused themselves. Frequently this involved excursions to parks in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens. Trips to Coney Island. Visits to Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey where drinking was allowed on a Sunday afternoon.
Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, July 2013 Brooklyn Sunday School Celebration - Harper's Bazar, June 20, 1874
The Annual Brooklyn Sunday School Parade
Over 80,000 children marches in the sixty-eighth Sunday School Parade in May 1897. In 1934 over 100,000 children marches. The Sunday School Parade was still popular in the 1950s.
Excursions to Parks
Popular excursion destinations from Red Hook were to the Scheutzen parks in Astoria, Queens and Union City, New Jersey, Pope's Park near Greenwood Cemetery, Ulmer Park at Gravesend, Koch's Bay View Park and Coney Island.
The church picnics usually involved games, such as egg races, relay races, standing leaps, running leaps, and running races for men and boys. Picnics for some organizations might involve ethnic music like harps, pipes and fiddles for the Irish societies, ump pah pah bands for the German societies.
At the 1877 Visitation Church's fundraising picnic at Schuetzen Park several hundred children dressed in white with red ribbons formed a parade. About 2,500 people attended despite the heat.
The very same day St. Mary Star of the Sea, another local church, had their fundraising picnic at Pope's Park.
The parks had "scups" (swings) and carousels.
Schuetzen Parks were found wherever there was a large German population. See Union City, New Jersey
The "Union City" Schuetzen Park, at 3167 Kennedy Boulevard, North Bergen, NJ 07047-2303 is still in operation. Schuetzen Park The Brooklyn Schuetzen Cops was founded in 1858. Schuetzenfests - competitive marksmanship events - occurred frequently.
The Queens Schuetzen Park was at 1859 Myrtle Ave. Opened by at least 1858 the Myrtle Avenus Park in Glendale Queens was reachable from Brooklyn via horse drawn streetcar lines. The park contained a "hotel", dancing platforms, refreshment stands, beer gardens, band pavilions, and a "shooting house" for rifle tournaments.
Pope's Park in Brooklyn was reachable by the Bath & Coney Island Railroad and Brooklyn cars to Greenwood, "about 6 minutes walk from Park". Located next to Greenwood cemetery on high ground it commanded a beautiful view of the New York bay. As far as I can determine it was at 39th and 5th ave. The park had a dance floor, dining saloons, rides (scups and swings), a shooting gallery, pavilions Pope's Park was at one time managed by local Red Hook politician, Tommy Sheridan . In 1873 forty eight associations, churches and politicians had events in Tommy Sheridan's Pope's Park. In 1890 Old Pope's Park was turned into a car yard.
Koch's Bay View Park, New Utrecht
In 1897 the park was located at Third Ave Corner of Sixtieth street, South Brooklyn (approximately where the BQE and the Gowanus Expressway merge today). Koch's Bay View Park boasted "a beer garden which specialized in picnic parties" and a dancing platform. The park also contained a shooting gallery and a spacious ball room. Koch's Bay View Park was the setting for numerous, shooting events, galas, balls, barbecues, picnics, concerts and song fests.
In July 1887 the Red Hook Rangers held their annual picnic at Bay View Park. "All of Red Hook turned out to attend and the park was crowed to its utmost capacity". In February 1890 an "Old German Pork Lunch" called metzelsuppe took place in Philip Koch's Bay View Park. "Every dish that possibly can be made out of fresh pork was on the table, together, of course, with the inevitable sauerkraut, potatoes and other good things." An "abundant supply of excellent Rhine wine" was also served.
In May 1888 the New Utrecht Police Board announced their intentions of arresting flagrant violators of the Sunday laws who were dancing and playing ball in Koch's Bay View Park.
Phillip Koch, age 71, proprietor of the Bay View Park, in South Brooklyn died in January 1894.
1870: Philip Koch 47, tavern keeper, Elizabeth Koch 42 Elizabeth Koch 18 Philip Koch 16 John Koch 14 Wm Koch 12 Christy Koch 9 Morton Koch 6Ulmer Park
Ulmer Park was a suburban resort "delightfully situated on the waters of Gravesend bay". It was reachable by the Second avenue electric road. It had 680 feet of water front property. It was divided into two sections, one north and the other south of Twenty-fifth avenue, Unionville. The northern section was called Ulmer Pavilion and the southern section was called Ulmer Park. The two sections were connected by a boardwalk. The Ulmer Pavilion was an immense building almost on the water. It contained an expansive dance floor. Large orchestras played waltzes and two steps. In 1896 a stage was added in the pavilion to put on vaudeville variety acts. The pavilion also contained a "first class" restaurant and a large bar which served Ulmer beer.
North of the pavilion was a twenty feet wide pier which extended into the water about 5 or 6 hundred feet. There were: a bowling alley, billiard rooms, carrousel, steam swings (or scups), and several shooting galleries. Swimming, bike racing, games of all sorts, rowing, fishing, etc. were available. There was a year round hotel. Many societies, shooting clubs, singing clubs and other organizations held their annual events at Ulmer Park. The property was owned by William Ulmer, "one of the city's millionaire beer manufacturers" and William Texter.
Coney Island was a popular day trip.
Linden Grove on the Kill von Kull was a popular destination for barge excursions to Staten Island.
In August 1883 a large group of Red Hook Irishmen took their annual cruise to Linden Grove, in Staten Island, below Elizabethport. Two large barges, the Walter Sands and the Excelsior, were towed by the Moran tug, the George L Garlick. They were joined by the new side-wheeled steamer Invincible and the Excelsior. The crowd danced to a band of two Irish harps and a fiddle on The Excelsior and a similar band on the Walter Sands. At around 11 o'clock a brass band stated to play on the Walter Sands and there was "noise and confusion and fun enough to satisfy the most boisterous Irishman". The fleet finally set sail for the grove around noon and the day was "spent in the enjoyment of such sports as usually characterize such occasions" Brooklyn Union August 6 1883
"Greater Astoria Historical Society" Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor Long Island City, NY 11106 718-278-0700 Greater Astoria Historical Society Images
Astoria Schuetzen Park
With permission of La Guardia and Wagner Archives, La Guardia Community College, C.U.N.Y., July 2013 - "copyright 1910- Julius Link"
Astoria Schuetzen Park
"Greater Astoria Historical Society" Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor Long Island City, NY 11106 718-278-0700 Greater Astoria Historical Society Images
Schuetzen Park, Broadway and Steinway Street.
"Greater Astoria Historical Society" Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor Long Island City, NY 11106 718-278-0700 Greater Astoria Historical Society Images
Astoria Schuetzen Park
Brooklyn Eagle, June 14, 1896
Ulmer Park and Pavilion - looking towards the bay. The Belt Parkway now runs along the water at 25th avenue.
Brooklyn Eagle, June 17, 1900
Ulmer Park and Pavilion 1900
Image 809817 NYPL Digital collection, May 2013
A holiday crowd bound for Coney Island, Ulmer Park and Bath Beach. 1899
Railroads - Horse and Cable 1892
"Fares on all New York and Brooklyn surface horse and cable railways, five cents. Children under five years of age free"There were connections at various places like Atlantic Avenue.
Water for the Thirsty
In July 1889 drinking fountains were set up around the city. In Red Hook fountains were to be placed at Wolcott near Van Brunt and Richards near Van Brunt by mid August. Ice was to be distributed free by a committee of temperate citizens who believe it a good way to counteract the saloons and liquor dealers.
1894 AN UNPARDONABLE ACT
A conversation between two "Irishmen"
First Gowanusian - What's become o yer son. Jimmy? I haven't seen him for siveral weeks.The Irish did not think much of the German sense of humor.
Population of Ward 12 and 6 in 1880 to 1892
The "old" market on Hamilton ave closed for lack of patronage sometime after 1863. It was turned into a factory, then in 1865 into a warehouse, and in 1866 into a cholera hospital. In 1867 the building was vacant when there were plans to reopen it with 32 stalls. There were to be 9 butchers, seven cheese, butter and egg dealers, five green grocers, four fish and oyster dealers, one poultry and one game dealer and other venders of can goods, fruits, preserves and pickles. There was also to be a crockery store, a billard saloon, a boot and shoe store, an oyster bar and a restaurant. The stalls were rented for $10 a month with a three year lease. (BE, Aug 1867)
The market appeared to have been a success and was lauded in a October 1867 Brooklyn Eagle article. It was claimed that business was brisque, quality was good and prices were lower than neighborhood stores. Among those doing business was Harte and Fitzpatrick dealers in wines, liquors, and "segars".
The walls of the Hamilton Market at the corner of Hamilton and Van brunt "fell" down in 1870 killing at least one person, a child named Isabella Mullen age 12 and severely wounding Teresa Mullen age 8, the daughters of Edward Mullen a tailor. The girls had been sitting in the shade on a sill of the building. The crash shook the neighboring buildings and sent a crowd running. The managed to dig out the two Mullen girls who were still alive. Isabella Mullen died within a few hours. The collapse of the large brick building occurred at about quarter past seven on a Sunday the morning, when the market was not open for business and the streets were relatively uncrowded. The market frequently catered to 400 or 500 hundred customers at a time. F. C. Depperman, grocer, was one of the jury members who heard the case of the death of Isabella Mullen. See Depperman
James Dadson had a "fancy" bakery at 24 Van Brunt opposite the market. He sold wholesale and retail bread, pies and cakes.
In 1888 the local market extended from Sacket to Woodhull streets on Columbia streets. It was frequented by people of every nationality in search of bargains on vegetables and fruit particularly the "sturdy Irish longshoremen of the Sixth and Twelfth wards". The local grocers didn't like the competition.
"About 10 O'clock trade begins to slacken. The marketers are supplied, the venders' wagons are empty and their throats are sore; the various stocks of toys, terra cotta pugs and potatoes are well nigh exhausted; the street crowd thins off and the thoroughfare is gradually deserted by all save som jolly and thirsty rounders and Captain Lowery's blue coats." (Aug 19, 1888, BE)
Red Hook's Reputation
Much has been written about the tough element of the Red Hook waterfront. The Irish (and later the Italian gangs), the bars and dives on Hamilton Avenue, the drunken sailors, Al Capone (who grew up in Red Hook), the movie On The Waterfront, the underworld control of the docks, have all been mentioned in the same breath with "Red Hook".
However, a look at the 1880 census in ward 12 shows mostly families - husbands with honorable occupations - wives at home - children in school. The newspapers reported the outstanding occurrences but ignored the people who were just going about their business, so it is very hard to recreate an image of day to day life in Red Hood at the end of the 1800s.
The Baker Family
In September 2017 I received an email from Richard Murphy about the family of William and Elizabeth Baker, Irish immigrants to Red Hook who had a large family. Some of the children were born in Ireland and some were born in Brooklyn. The boys, Patrick, James and Michael "ran afoul of the law".
Housing and Store Fronts
1871 - 379 Van Brunt advertised - 1 in from north east corner of Van Brunt near Partition - 2nd floor over store with eight rooms each - good place for butcher, grocery, barber or boarding house.
1886: To let or lease spacious large store corner of Van Brunt and King 1889 February: A new "flat" under construction on Imlay near Verona was to be a three story brick with brown stone trim, 25x50 - each floor containing " one "suit with two sleeping rooms, diningroom and kitchen" - white wood trim - white walls and ceiling - "all modern improvements" entrance "a low stoop with double doors" - owner, Patrick Creamer.
1899: New buildings northeast corner Ferris at Wolcott 3 brick building: 2 two story and a one story with gravel roofs, value $6,000 60x90
1891: FOR SALE: 3 story brick tenement on Partition near Van Brunt 25x100 rents $700, price $5,400
1892: Van Brunt street well established good paying liquor store 6 year lease $420 yearly
1896: For Sale - Big Bargain -132 Fikeman, near Van Brunt 3 story brick - store and dwelling - 25x100 lot $2,400
Hamilton Avenue on a summer night in 1891|
A Brooklyn Eagle article of July 1891 called Hamilton Avenue one of the widest thoroughfares in Brooklyn and the dividing line between Ward 6 and Ward 12. However, it was said that business had "never thriven on Hamilton Avenue". It was mostly lined with saloons and clothing stores (both new and used).
It was people with longshoremen, sailors, ship captains and exotic seafaring types complete with earrings. One could hear a multitude of languages.
There were Scandinavian sailors come to stay at the sailor's temperance home. The Scandinavians had a large population in the 12th Ward, especially on Van Brunt street.
Well dressed, "brown skinned", Italian promenaded on the "eastern" side of the street, their music filling the night air.
During the week commuters from Manhattan arrived on the ferry and on weekend pleasure seekers were "bound for New York". Wagons unload, ice, kegs, boxes of bottles and further crowd the street. Many of the transport wagons and horses were housed in South Brooklyn and on Saturday night there was a seemingly endless sting of truck horses being led back to their stables in South Brooklyn"
Some "young Italians are well to do mechanics, and some of the merchants and ship chandlers are wealthy".
Hamilton Avenue near the Gowanus was said to have had a "reputation of being one of the toughest places in Brooklyn".
|Red Hook 1941|
|Collection of Maggie Land Blanck|
Gowanus Improvement, Triborough Bridge Authority, November 1, 1941, Robert Moses, Chairman
1. Governor's Island. 2. Atlantic Basis. 3. The New York Dock Company warehouses on Imlay Street. 4. The Red Hook Houses. 5. Columbia Street, 6. Erie Basin. 7. Coffey Park
|Collection of Maggie Land Blanck|
|1907 map showing the Red Hook Section of
|Collection of Maggie Land Blanck|
|Early map showing the Red Hook Section of
Brooklyn with Hamilton Avenue, and the Erie and Atlantic basins.|
|Map collection of Maggie Land Blanck|
It has been said that a major reason Red Hook lost so many factories was the tax incentives they received in other area, particularly New Jersey. In addition, wharfage rates and the storehouse prices became less competitive.
What Brought the Peters (Petersens), Petermanns and Kettles to
Red Hook Brooklyn, What Did They Do There and Why Did They Leave?|
In 1886 the Atlantic Dock:
"several schooners with sugar from the South, as well as the Hamburg steamer, California, which after landing her 650 steerage passengers, is now loading grain for the return voyage . The weekly service for the Hamburg line to this point insures an air of business at this dock even in the dullest times. Here also are the canal boats which receive freight of the Erie canals."In 1892:
GENERAL SHIPPING NEWS
|Red Hood Waterfront|
|Liquor Stores Red Hood 1870 and later|
|Red Hood Industry in the mid to late 1800s|
|Second Place near Henry, Brooklyn|
|Red Hood Churches|
|Other Brooklyn Images|
|HOME - FRITZ KETTLER - HANNA PETERS - JOHANN BEREND PETERMANN - IMMIGRATION|
Retail Stores in Red Hook
Red Hook Celebrities
Red Hook Streets
1870 Census Brooklyn Ward 12, Liquor stores and saloons
Red Hook Liquor Dealers
Red Hook Liquor Dealers - The Families
Balfe - Ball - Baumann - Behnken - Bell - Black - Boysen - Bray - Brickwedel - Callaghan - Carberry - Cassin - Cavanagh - Collimore - Collins - Coogan - Cordes - Curran - Daly - Dawson - Dempsey - Depperman - Devan - Dixon - Dockery - Donovan - Doran - Ehrichs - Fay - Finkeldey - Fitzgerald - Garahan - Gillen - Graef - Haack - Henry - Higgins, Hugh - Higgins, George - Hoehn - Hoffman - Hughs - Hunold - Hussey - Judge - Kassenbrock - Keleher - Knoop - Krohler - Kuhn - Lamont - Lever - Little - Looney - Madigan - Mahnken - McAvanny - McGee - McGrath - McKenna - McQuade - Meyers - Molloy - Mooney - Moran - Mullady - Munsinger - Murray - Noble - O'Brien - O'Hara - Oberdieck - Powers - Ropke - Schmadeke - Schwanemann - Shea - Sheridan - Siebe - Simmons - Struve - Sullivan - Weinphal - Winkelman Carroll Towing
|The Police and Fire Departments in Red Hook - Mid To Late 1800s|
|Red Hook Waterfront - Mid To Late 1800s|
|History of the Isthmian Steamship Lines, Erie Basis, Red Hook Brooklyn includes an arial view of the Erie Basin Terminal and tons of other images and information|
|A Preservation Plan for Red Hook, Brooklyn Lots of good images and information on the history of Red Hook|
|Red Hook Waterfront, The O'Connell Organization is a family owned and operated real estate development business. Clearly they love the Red Hook waterfront and their website contains some fabulous photos of the old warehouses and other buildings in Red Hook.|
|Water Front Museum and Showboat Barge|
Spanierman Gallery LLC -
Winthrop Duthie Turney
(1884-)1965) Brooklyn Paintings
Thanks to Bob Steward for making me aware of Turney's Brooklyn paintings and this web site.
|Red Hook Flickr Group|
|If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|© Maggie Land Blanck - Page created January 2013 - latest update November 2020|