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Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse & Railroad


Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn



Monday, 22 February 2010 - 15:25

update summary:

advertising card added 22 February 2010




   The Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Company, was founded in Brooklyn in 1850 with little more than a pier and a warehouse. In 1894, Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse absorbed the New York Warehousing Co., and somewhat expanded it's property holdings.

   In January 1895, James & Henry Nesmith sold the Empire Stores property along the East River to the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Co.

   In July 1896, the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Co. would purchase the Robinson Stores and associated docks, then located at Columbia, Congress, Warren and Baltic Streets on the East River. Included in this property was three piers on the Buttermilk Channel. According to a New York Time article, the Robinson Stores were an "obstacle" to the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse.

   In 1899, a five year pier and warehouse expansion project is undertaken, and would eventually come to occupy the location that is now known as "DUMBO", which is an acronym for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

   This property today consists of many historic buildings, (most of which still stand!) of which were built for the expanding ship traffic being received in Brooklyn. Some of these structures were also used for tobacco inspection and general manufacturing in the day.

   According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac of 1901, located by Joe Roborecky in Google Book Search; the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Company operated the Atlantic Basin Facility at this time:

"Atlantic Basin:

Under the control of the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Company, is situated near the Hamilton Ferry, nearly opposite of Governors Island. Vessels can enter it in any stage of tide. It covers an area of 40 acres, has brick and granite warehouses on three sides and contains four piers, besides the two bulkheads which form the basin and are known as the North and South piers. Three of the inside piers are covered and are 700, 800 and 900 feet in length, respectively, by 75 and 85 feet in width. The largest, designated as South Central, is the most extensive in this port.

A float bridge with railroad tracks enable the transfer of cars brought by floats from any railroad terminal on the harbor to the tracks which ramify each pier of the bulkhead and basin. The freight  thus brought is thereby delivered to storehouse or vessel without bulk being broken between shipment and delivery. This basin is the largest grain depot in the world and is equipped with seven elevators. Its frontage line of bulkheads and piers measure three miles. The entrance to the basin is 200 feet wide."

      In July 1901, the New York Dock Company would file in Albany, NY a certificate of incorporation after the purchase and reorganization of the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Co.




   Unfortuantely, not much is known in the way of the trackage layout for Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse.

   The following article was discovered within the Official Proceedings of September 1900 for the monthly meeting of the Western Railway Club. In this discussion, it specifies the design of the trackage, as well as how the locomotive is used at the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse:

Official Proceedings of the Western Railway Club - September 1900
added 22 October 2010


   As the New York Dock Railway was the successor to Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse, it can be construed that a good portion of the trackage seen on early New York Dock maps have their origins with Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse.


   According to Baldwin Locomotive Works builders records as well as information furnished by Robert Brendel; the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Company operated a total of five steam locomotives.

   As far as can be told, only one locomotive would be transferred to New York Dock (#4) upon their purchase and take over of the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse properties and assets.

   The image below of locomotive #2, shows it is as built by Baldwin Locomotive Works as a "steam dummy", with a faux street car shell over the locomotive and reciprocating machinery to prevent the frightening of horses.

#2 - Baldwin Builders Photo
SMU - E. L. DeGolyer Library archives
author's collection

Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse Steam Locomotive Roster

number /


gauge wheel
cylinders acquired disposition notes ref
#1 Baldwin 14969 7/1896 std. 0-4-0 44" 10" & 17" x 24"   to Hillside Quarry, 5/1922;
Richards & Gaston; Lakewood Sand
#1 (2nd?) PRR
  1889 std. 0-4-0   15" x 24" used
  ex-PRR #572 sold rebuilt: Southern Iron 10/9/14 (#978) [33]
#2 Baldwin 14970 7/1896 std. 0-4-0 44" 10" & 17" x 24"   sold 5/1919 [a]
ex-Richards & Gaston
ex-Calco Chemical
#3 Baldwin 15288 4/1897 std. 2-4-0 44" 17" x 24"   sold 11/1930 to Wm. Mosser Co.   [2]
#4 Baldwin 16031 7/1898 std. 0-4-0 44" 17" x 24"    scrapped 1932 to NYD #4 [2]

Locomotive Footnotes
[a] =   cylinders: compound
boiler pressure: 180 p.s.i.
heating surface: 676.56 sq .ft.
weight: 78,770 lbs.



Marine Equipment

.Readers Please Note:

   The tugboat "D. S. Arnott " was incorrectly identified as a Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse vessel.

     The New York Times article that carried news of its collision, identified it being of the "Brooklyn Wharf & Terminal". This name could be construed as either the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse or Brooklyn Dock & Terminal, as the name "Brooklyn Wharf & Terminal" contained elements from both of the other companies (wharf = dock or warehouse = terminal).

   The New York Times article also stated that the "vessel rounded the course towards Governors Island". This led me to believe it was enroute to Fulton Terminal of the Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse which is just north of Governor's Island. I thought that if the vessel was enroute to South Brooklyn where Brooklyn Dock & Terminal was located, it would not need to be near Governors Island. So I concluded (erroneously) that the vessel belonged to Brooklyn Wharf & Warehouse.

   However, recent documents show that David S. Arnott owned the property that the Brooklyn Dock & Terminal was situated upon.

   Therefore, D. S. Arnott data has been moved to that page:

 Brooklyn Dock & Terminal





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authors collection

added 22 February 2010



Advertising Card (200%) - actual size 3" x 4 7/8"
authors collection

added 22 February 2010

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