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Series 6: Brooklyn Waterfront and Ferries, 1816-1890, inclusive


1.1 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

This series provides rich documentation concerning the development of the Brooklyn waterfront and East River ferry service, especially with regard to the Union Ferry Company during the mid-nineteenth century. The series includes correspondence, legal agreements, leases, corporate formation documents, and court filings. In addition to substantial manuscript material, there is printed material, such as New York Supreme Court decisions, government committee reports, leases, and pamphlets. Much of the material concerns negotiations with New York City and Brooklyn municipal authorities over franchise and property rights. Overall, strategic business objectives are a focus of the series, rather than day-to-day operational or financial matters. Nonetheless, there is material on specific matters, including the 1852 strike of ferry pilots and the 1883 experiment to replace gas lighting with electric on a ferry. The Fulton Ferry, South Ferry and Hamilton Avenue Ferry are well represented in the series, along with reference to Manhattan locations, such as the Wall Street Ferry. The Atlantic Dock Company and Williamsburgh Ferry Company are also represented.

The series also includes an incomplete handwritten manuscript of Henry E. Pierrepont's Historical Sketch of the Fulton Ferry and its Associated Ferries, along with correspondence, notes and other materials compiled in connection with the history. The series includes maps, sketches, correspondence, legal agreements, and other documents concerning the bulkhead, docks, piers, and other structures on Pierreponts's waterfront property (also see Series 3 for maps and other related material).


The series opens with manuscript material related principally to the Union Ferry Company, followed by material related more specifically to Pierrepont property. This is followed by 2 folders of material related to Henry Pierrepont's history of the ferries and by printed matter.

Union Ferry Company (5 folders), 1837-1890, inclusive

Box: 4, Folder: 5-9 (Material Type: Text)

Union Ferry Company: Pilot's Strike, 1852, inclusive

Box: 4, Folder: 10 (Material Type: Text)

Union Ferry Company: Electric Lights, 1883, inclusive

Box: 4, Folder: 11 (Material Type: Text)


Includes electric company proposals (e.g., United States Illuminating Company, Edison Electric Illuminating Company of N.Y), correspondence, and cost benefit figures related to Union Ferry Company's experiment with electricity as a replacement for gas lighting.

Pierrepont Waterfront Property (3 folders), 1816-1871, inclusive

Box: 5, Folder: 1-3 (Material Type: Text)


Includes tracings of Fulton Ferry Landing as surveyed by Thomas Poppleton, 1816.

Brooklyn Ferry History (2 folders), 1877-1882, inclusive

Box: 5, Folder: 4, 5 (Material Type: Text)

Print material (4 items), 1820s, undated, inclusive

Box: 5, Folder: 6 (Material Type: Text)

Print material (7 items), 1838-1839, inclusive

Box: 5, Folder: 7 (Material Type: Text)

Print material (8 items, incl. 1 manuscript), 1845-1849, inclusive

Box: 5, Folder: 8 (Material Type: Text)

Print material (28 items in 4 folders), 1850-1857, inclusive

Box: 5, Folder: 9-12 (Material Type: Text)

Print material (7 items), 1860-1861, 1867, inclusive

Box: 6, Folder: 1 (Material Type: Text)

Print material (6 items), 1876-1878, 1884, inclusive

Box: 6, Folder: 2 (Material Type: Text)
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201