May 2019: There is an urgent threat to this historic building, please sign the petition to save the facade. UPS plans to build an e-commerce warehouse here.
A massive, noble and beloved brick building lies to the north of Red Hook’s Valentino Park. Constructed in 1882 before the Statue of Liberty was dedicated or the Brooklyn Bridge completed, the noble Lidgerwood building housed the manufacturing center of a world-famous innovative maker of diverse machinery. Lidgerwood’s output included hoists, boilers, sugar cane crushers, mining and logging equipment, pile drivers and assorted machinery. Their machinery was used to build the Panama Canal, the main dam for New York City’s Croton Falls reservoir, many docks and used aboard many ships. The capstan, boat winch, and boom controls of the historic ship LILAC in Manhattan were all built here.
The structure is built in the American Round Arch style (Romanesque revival), reflecting the Rundbogenstil introduced to the USA with the German diaspora. The building is valued for its history, its style and for its dominant presence along the only City waterfront park in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It also has economic value as a TV and film location of note.
Founded in 1873, the Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company main factory plant took up an entire block, bordered by Dikeman, Coffey, Ferris and Wolcott Streets. The Company, as an 1895 ad put it, was “manufacturers of Hoisting Engines, Superior Boilers, and Conveying Machines.”
Another Red Hook angle from the website of the New York Public Library: "Mr. W.V.V. Lidgerwood obviously did very well as he had a yacht built (launched from Erie Basin) that cost $20,000 in 1886 (over $470,000 in 2009 dollars)."
While no longer in Brooklyn, the company is still in business and still specializing in hoists and related equipment.
The company is now known as The Superior-Lidgerwood-Mundy Corporation. According to the company's official history: "Lidgerwood Manufacturing, our parent company, has a long and illustrious past starting in 1873 as a continuation of the Speedwell Iron Works of Morristown, New Jersey... The machinery for the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, was also built in Speedwell Works."
For a great deal more detail on the Lidgewood Manufacturing Company, see Red Hook historian Maggie Blanck’s page on the company.
In 1926, the Brooklyn Edison Company, as part of a large purchase of land to build a power station, bought the Lidgerwood building fronting on Ferris street.For related stories see: