Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grain elevators in Brooklyn, New York

Though the elevator in Gowanus still stands, the vast majority of the grain elevators built in Brooklyn, New York, over the years were not built on or near the Gowanus Canal, which was dug at the end of the 1860s. Instead, as the map reproduced above shows (circa 1880), most of the stationary elevators and grain warehouses in Brooklyn were built close to Manhattan: either in Brooklyn Heights, which is on the East River facing Manhattan's Lower East Side, or in the Atlantic Basin, which is along Buttermilk Channel. When necessary, grain facilities were also built in the Erie Basin (at the tip of or within the huge J-shaped breakwater).

By contrast, the Gowanus Elevator is far from Manhattan. Located in Upper New York Bay, it can't be seen in the map above. If it did appear, it would be in the upper-right-hand corner. To get a sense of the distances involved here, but without getting lost, see the map below. The green arrow is pointing towards the location of the Gowanus Elevator.

To complete our panorama, below is a picture of the Gowanus Elevator, as seen from the Red Hook Playground and photographed by the Historic American Engineering Record in 1985.

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