Category Archives: History

Red Hook’s Visitation Church — 165 Years of Neighborhood Service

By Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) Red Hook was a successful harbor town from its beginnings. By the 1850s, it had expanded greatly due to its proximity to Manhattan’s own shipping center as well as being the natural end of the Erie Canal. Boats and barges bringing goods and raw materials began docking in …

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The Story of Revere Sugar in Red Hook and the Rise and Fall of Big Sugar in Brooklyn

By Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) Sugar was once one of Brooklyn’s biggest industries, and the Revere Sugar plant dominated the Red Hook waterfront for almost 100 years. New York City was once the sugar capital of the world. The ports and piers of New York, specifically those in Brooklyn, made this kingdom of …

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A Look Back at Tin City, Red Hook’s Homeless Settlement During the Great Depression

By Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) The Great Depression was one of the 20th century’s most defining periods. We tend to think it started with the international stock market crash on October 29, 1929, but the industrialized world’s economies were headed for trouble several years before that. By the early 1930s, the effects were …

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The Red Hook Houses: Housing Brooklynites During the Great Depression

By Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) Housing projects were originally built as a great experiment to house lower income people, one of many to come from the unprecedented poverty and needs of the Great Depression. The economic conditions that brought nationwide misery to this country beginning in 1929 and continuing throughout the 1930s were …

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Red Hook’s Early Years, Coffeyville, and Life on a Coffey Street Row

By Suzanne Spellen (aka Montrose Morris) Red Hook is one of Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhoods, with a history that is unique. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Coffey Street, located between the Atlantic and Erie Basins should have a unique history as well. Here is the story of Red Hook’s …

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A Witness to the Evolution of Red Hook: 44-46 Beard Street

Sailors, food and art: All play a part in the story of 44-46 Beard Street, a utilitarian Italianate-style building overlooking the waterfront and Ikea. It was built as a storefront with residential space above sometime between 1880 and 1886. A lone survivor, and a witness to over 130 years of shipping and industrial history, …

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