Elizabeth Street was renamed Beard Street Dec 14, 1865. Elizabeth was one of the older streets in Red Hook, officially listed at least as early as 1817. William Beard (1806-1886) was an Irish immigrant, who gained his initial success building rail roads. In 1843 he began purchasing large tracks of land south of the Atlantic Basin (which was still under construction) to lay the ground for building the Erie Basin. Beard filled in wet marsh land and built a large breakwater with the waste ballast ships not loaded with cargo carried. The Erie Basin harbor and warehouses opened in 1864. Beard passed his business on to his son Colonel William (Billy) H. Beard (1839-1893) , who was also involved in local politics.