When the O’Connell Organization first came to Red Hook, it set out to preserve and protect the history of the South Brooklyn waterfront.
Over the past 45 years, the organization has rehabilitated dozens of residential and commercial properties in the Red Hook, Columbia Street Waterfront, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill areas of Brooklyn.
The Beard and Robinson Stores retain much of its historic character, with 250 restored arched iron shutters.
These iron shutters form hail from the days of the Civil War, and have been restored by the O’Connell Organization.
The original purpose behind the shutters was to protect the goods stored within the building from the elements, to provide security, and they acted as a sort of fire suppression system,
Far from the farms of the Midwest, the O’Connell properties at Red Hook’s Erie Basin were part of a complex of grain terminals, warehouses, wharfs and shipyards which accommodated and handled goods and materials bound for New York Harbor via the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal.