American Molasses - Sucrest - Revere Sugar

Saltpeter, soap, and sugar, in succession, were key products in the area south of Beard Street, known as the “Richards bulkhead area."  By 1880, the land was developed and piers were extended into the Erie Basin. The first buildings were one-story brick warehouses for storing cargo.

Sometime between 1880 and 1885, Pier A, which extended out from the land, was covered with a wooden shed. Around 1886 a five-story brick-and-stone warehouse was built. 

In 1886, a saltpeter works operated on part of the site (saltepeter is a key ingredient in gun powder.) By 1915 Soap-making had replaced the saltpeter operation.  

Also operating on the site in 1915 was The American Molasses Company.  The company shipped in and refined raw sugar. By 1931 the profitable business had expanded to fill the entire property.

American Molasses used the original buildings on the site, storing its raw sugar in bags in the low warehouses and using the five-story building for various purposes, including barrel making. To this it added a refinery and other more modern structures.

The American Molasses Company was acquired by the Sucrest Sugar in the 1950s. It is by that name that many remember the place because after the property was later bought by Revere Sugar, (circa 1980?) the Sucrest name remained on much of the equipment.

For much of its history, the operation was the same: raw sugar delivered by ship was unloaded into bins on the west side of the pier. A conveyor then carried the sugar up to a storage tower to await refining.

The refinery and all the buildings are now gone. In 1991, Thomas R. Flagg documented the historical significance of the site (Cultural Resource Evaluation: Revere Sugar Site) and the major role sugar had played in Brooklyn industry.  He noted, that its 19th-century pier shed was the last of its kind in the New York Harbor. The shed was torn down in 2006.  Still standing, however,  is the nearby Brooklyn Clay Retort and Fire Bricks Works Storehouse at 76 - 86 Van Dyke Street, built in 1859.  Until the early 1930s, the factory produced fire proof  products from clays of the Arthur Kill area. The building was then used by American Molasses.

In 2016 Thor equities announced its plans to build two heavy timber frame buildings with 23,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and more than 795,000 square feet of office space. The waterfront area will be landscaped and publically accessible. 

Images

Source: Josh S. Jackson May 20, 2006 flickr : https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshsjackson/150061833 View File Details Page

American Molasses Company 1931 advertisement copy.

American Molasses Company 1931 advertisement copy.

American Molasses Company molasses... "Back it comes in their own ships, or in specially chartered schooners to their modern molasses plants" Full Text: "Here's something we found in a booklet Issued by the American Molasses Company, whose "Grandma's Old-Fashioned Molasses" and "Lassup" are subjects for ads in this campaign: "Perhaps you have wondered Just where in the world the American Molasses Company gets a real molasses, reminiscent of the kind that Grandma used to keep in that "good old molasses jug" On the pantry shelf. If so, you will undoubtedly be interested to know that representatives of the American Molasses Company have traveled afar to & land where It is still yesterday; where in all its crudeness is to be found the old-fashioned methods of making sugar and molasses—the West Indies Isles. Way over in those tropical climes where the sugar canes drink in the golden mellowness of the sun and absorbs the "mineral and body building elements of the soil. Here is where they collect this old-fashioned molasses that has almost disappeared from the market: Back it comes in their own ships, or in specially chartered schooners to their modern molasses plants In this country—there to be canned for your use and convenience." | Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 16, 1931 View File Details Page

Filling and Sewing Bags of Granulated Sugar

Filling and Sewing Bags of Granulated Sugar

The picture might not be in Red Hook but as the card notes "The center of the sugar refining world is on the waterfront of Brooklyn. To these refineries are brought shiploads of raw sugar. These ships carry about 10,000 tons each..." | Source: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Filling and sewing bags of granulated sugar, New York." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-e2c0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99 For animated stereo view see: http://stereo.nypl.org/view/25033 View File Details Page

Date:

1915-2006

Related Tour

Subjects

Sources:

  • Thomas R. Flagg, Cultural Resource Evaluation: Revere Sugar Site, Historical Documentation Services, June 25. 1991

    Also:
    The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Filling and sewing bags of granulated sugar, New York." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-e2c0-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

    Your ads May Seem "Terrible"..., Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 16, 1931 (http://fultonhistory.com/)

    Many sites covered the refinery's last days see for example: http://www.folkartisans.com/pages/toaa-red-hook-star-tie-ins.html
  • Many sites covered the refinery's last days see for example: http://www.folkartisans.com/pages/toaa-red-hook-star-tie-ins.html

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