The Brooklyn Bridge Red Hook Connection

The stone for the building of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge towers were stored and shipped from property of Red Hook's Atlantic Dock Company.

The stone used to build the Brooklyn Bridge was stored on property belonging to the Atlantic Dock company between Wolcott and Dikeman streets.  In an 1882 interview by The New York World, Mr. Martin, assistant engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge Company declared that: The property at Red Hook suited us admirably. Vessels could load and unload there at all stages of the tide."  At the time of their completion, the stone towers that anchored the suspension cables of the Bridge were the tallest man-made structures in North America.

The interview was part of a larger article entitled “The Bridge Frauds,” that was exploring the accusations of mishandling fund and power in the massive undertaking of building the Brooklyn Bridge.

One of the major scandals in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge revolved around the shoddy making of the cables by Red Hook’s Brooklyn Wire Mill.

Selected text from "THE BRIDGE FRAUDS," The New York World, September 26, 1882.  (The Red Hook bits)


The Brooklyn Aldermen Always Repulsed when Attempting to Obtain Information about the Structure.

Although there is a Committee on Parks and bridges in the Brooklyn Board of Aldermen, not a member of It could be found yesterday who knew anything at all about the affairs of the East River Bridge. Alderman Robert Black, of the Fourth Ward, said to a WORLD reporter. "The Board of Aldermen know no more about the affaire of the bridge, than a stranger on the outside. I made several attempts to gain information on the subject, but I always round myself repulsed by the men In power. They have carried things with a high band tram the tune the undertaking was suited. I think Mayor Low began in the wrong way. He should have struck a blow at the three mm who have been at the head of this thing from the beginning, and not at the engineer." …


A WORLD reporter, pursuing inquiries relative to property at Red Hook rented by the Brooklyn Bridge company of the Atlantic Dock company as a storage ground, called at the office of the bridge company.

Mr. C. C. Martin, the assistant engineer, was asked why the bridge company could not have used some of its own property adjacent to the towers on either side for storage purposes.

"The whole area of our property," said Mr. Martin, "between Water street and the river would be probably about one-half the area of the yard at Red Hook which we occupied for storage purposes. If there were no buildings upon the property,

If the coal sheds and office of Marston & son were moved away. If our yard was entirely free from machinery, &c., which it has never been at any time, there would not have been room enough to store the stone which accumulated on our hands. At Red Book we had at one time as much as 1,000 cubic yards of stone…

"Was there any property nearer than Red Hook which the bridge company could have rented?" asked the reporter.

"There was no other property anywhere in the vicinity which could be obtained that would have answered our purpose. I made a most diligent search and could find none, if we had found a storage ground nearer It would have made very little difference in the cost of transporting the material to the site of the bridge tower. The property at Red Hook suited us admirably. Vessels could load and unload there at all stages of the tide."

" What was the area of the property there? "

" I cannot recall the figures. It was situated between Wolcott and Dykeman street [Dikeman] and extended back about half the block. Dykeman street not being opened up to the river front, we were able also to use that for storage purposes. This gave us a water front of I think about 250 feet."

“What was the rental?"

"You can learn that of Mr. Quintard, also the cost of towage. Nickerson and Company did that work for us."

It was ascertained from Mr. Quintard that from June 1, 1870, to November l, 1876, the rent had been at the rate of $5,000 per annum.  It was hired again from June 1, 1875 to September 1, 1881, at $4000 per annum.  It was subsequently explained by Mr. Martin that daring the interval between November 1, 1876 and June 1, 1878, the bridge company did not receive any stone and required no storage ground.





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