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Wallabout Union Freight Station & Wallabout Station

INDUSTRIAL, OFFLINE TERMINAL RAILROADS & RAIL-MARINE OPERATIONS
OF BROOKLYN, QUEENS, STATEN ISLAND, BRONX & MANHATTAN:

WALLABOUT UNION FREIGHT STATION
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK CENTRAL / WEST SHORE
L
EHIGH VALLEY, BALTIMORE & OHIO,
CENTRAL OF NEW JERSEY AND
N
EW YORK ONTARIO & WESTERN? RAILROADS)

WALLABOUT STATION
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(ERIE RAILROAD)

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PRR NYC  NYC & HR WS New York Central & Hudson River West Shore LV B & O CRRNJ CNJ NYO & W pier station market

updated:
TUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2011  - 15:00


update summary:

date:
Baltimore & Ohio Pier Station (basin side w/ carfloats!) 27 December 2011 Wallabout Union Freight Station

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Wallabout Union Freight Station
(PRR, NYC, LV, B&O, CRRNJ)

Wallabout Station
(Erie)

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Overview

   In viewing the Terminal Facilities Map of 1940 below, we can see the various locations of the terminals and facilities located in the Wallabout Basin in relationship to one another.

   Starting from the north and working south, this area in the Wallabout Basin would eventually come to be served by several railroads throughout the years:

"Wallabout Terminal" - Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
"Wallabout Union Freight Terminal" - Pennsylvania; New York Central; Lehigh Valley and Baltimore & Ohio Railroads
"Wallabout Station" - Erie Railroad
"Wallabout Market Terminal" - Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal

   The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad "Wallabout Terminal" facility, is covered at length on another page of this website: Wallabout Terminal (DLW)

   Also located at the southeast corner of the basin was the "Wallabout Terminal Market" of the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal. The history of this BEDT Wallabout Market Terminal is discussed in depth on the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal pages of this website: Wallabout Market Terminal

   This particular page is concerned with the history of the two "pier station only" facilities: the "Wallabout Union Freight Station", (combined Pennsylvania, New York Central, Lehigh Valley, Baltimore & Ohio and Central Railroad of New  Jersey); and the "Wallabout Station" of  the Erie Railroad.

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Wallabout Market

   The Wallabout Market, where the vendors would actually conduct business, would be organized at this location in 1884, after being banned from its prior location at Fulton Street, Brooklyn.

  The Wallabout Market was one of the premier farmer's markets in the city of Brooklyn, and according to historical accounts it was the second largest produce / farmers market in the United States. According to a 1914 article in the New York Times discussing the modernization and expansion of the Wallabout Terminal Market, there were 45,325 farmers wagons located at the market in 1913.

  The peak time of business transactions for the Wallabout Market vendors would be between midnight and dawn. Considering there were no to extremely few electric lights during this era, makes this a most unusual time of day to conduct business. But if one thinks about it; conducting business during the wee hours of morning ensured fresh produce delivered and ready for sale by the time the populace was beginning to stir and beginning their day.

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Wallabout Union Freight Station

    Initial research of this facility by this author failed to provide an exact start of operations date for the railroad portion of this facility, and the exact dates of construction and completion of the pier stations was elusive.

   Eventually, it was ascertained from the following New York Times article that the Pennsylvania Railroad would establish their presence in the Wallabout Basin at the time of this articles publication on November 1, 1898.


New York Times - November 1, 1898

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   However, the author procured on 10 January 2009; a Pennsylvania Railroad issued "Map of New York Harbor" (seen below) where it was learned that the Pennsylvania Railroad Wallabout Freight Station opened on June 1, 1900 from a notice printed on the reverse side of this map:

Pennsylvania Railroad Opening Announcement Notice for their Wallabout Freight Station - June 1, 1900
authors collection

added 10 January 2009
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Pennsylvania Railroad Map of New York Harbor - June 1, 1900 
authors collection

added 10 January 2009

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   Note that the Agent & office  for the Wallabout Station was retained at PRR Brooklyn E. D. Station. (Brooklyn Eastern District Station) This was the original name for the North 4th Street Freight Station south of and not to be confused with; the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal.

   The actual "Union Freight Terminal" or the combined operations of the Pennsylvania, New York Central, Lehigh Valley, Baltimore & Ohio and Central of New Jersey Railroad's is estimated to have been completed between 1906 - 1910, based on the information carried in the following New York Times article:


New York Times - July 29, 1906

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   The following map is an excerpt of the US Army Corps of Engineers Port Facilities Map of 1924 for the Williamsburg / Navy Yard Area..


ACoE Port Facilities Map - 1924
courtesy of Jim Guthrie

added 23 June 2010

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   This Wallabout Union Freight Station facility was constructed as pier stations only, meaning it had no float bridge or team tracks.

   Each of the railroads named above would have their own pier or blukhead location in the Wallabout Union Freight Station.

   Carfloats loaded with freight cars would simply be moored to one of several covered piers and the freight in those cars would be unloaded directly into the pier sheds / freight houses on those piers.

   The Wallabout Union Freight Station was a multiple pier facility which served the Wallabout Market. According to the 1915 issue of Railway Age Gazette, the following railroads serving the Wallabout Union Freight Station piers.

   The 1929 E. Belcher Hyde Property Map at right, shows the locations of those railroads.

   While the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad's "Wallabout Station" was not technically part of the Wallabout Union Freight Station, it is shown for location comparison.

   It should be noted that the map at right is actually a composite of three separate plates from two different volumes of the E. Belcher Hyde Atlases of 1929.

railroad

year

pier
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western
Pennsylvania
New York Central
West Shore
New York, Ontario & Western
Lehigh Valley
Baltimore & Ohio
Central Railroad of New Jersey
Erie
1900
1900
unk.
unk.
unk.
1906
1906
1906
unk.
own facility
Pier 2
Pier 3
Pier 3
Pier 3 ?
Pier 5
east bulkhead
unknown*
south bulkhead

   Interestingly, the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad is mentioned. This is presumably due to its partnership with the West Shore Railroad. No further information is known at this time.

   The presence of the Central Railroad of New Jersey at this location did not last long as it is no longer listed by 1913.

   It is believed, like the association the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad had with the West Shore / New York Central Railroad; the Central Railroad of New Jersey's presence at the Wallabout Union Freight Station was due to it's partnership with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad


E. Belcher Hyde - 1929

added 04 January 2009

   Also of particular note is that the Erie Railroad pier station freight house on the southern bulkhead is not listed, but a Wallabout Basin Storage Co. is shown for the structure. But from referencing the Port Facilities Map of 1924, we can see that the the Erie Railroad's Freight House occupied the west side of the structure and Wallabout Basin Storage Co. is shown for the east side of the structure.

   The "Report of the Committee on Terminals and Transportation of the New York State Food Investigating Commission" published April 18, 1913; lists the capacities of the various railroads at the Wallabout Union Terminal in 1913, as follows:

railroad capacity
Pennsylvania 75,969 sq. ft.
New York Central.... 75 cars
Lehigh Valley 18 cars
Baltimore & Ohio unknown
Central RR of New Jersey... appears to no longer
offer service to this location

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   It is understood that the inbound freight was not so much general freight as it was predominately fresh foods, fish, produce and other perishable items which required expedited delivery.

   According to a New York Times article discussing the future and expansion of the Wallabout Terminal Market, there were 45,325 farmers wagons located at the market in 1913.

   In the picture below, located by Joe Roborecky and the inspiration for this page; was taken in 1932. I have highlighted three of the piers (Piers 2, 3 and 4) of the Wallabout Union Freight Station (upper left corner) as used by the four railroads. Heading west across Washington Street (the main north - south thoroughfare in the image) and in the open field type area is the actual Wallabout Market. 

   Also in the photo below, we can see three station type carfloats moored in the slip between Pier 2 (Pennsylvania) and Pier 3 (New York Central) and one tugboat with a station carfloat in the slip between Pier 3 and Pier 4 (non-railroad)


Wallabout Market - 1932

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   The following image, which is undated at this time; is courtesy of Joseph DeMay. Mr. DeMay has been sending quite a few images "my way" to identify the location. Almost all are piers along the Hudson River. This one however, is a little closer to "home" (from a former Brooklynite's perspective).

   Honestly, it took me all of 10 seconds to identify the location with so many "tells" in the image: The Dutch style roofs and gables on the structure on the left, and the smokestacks (of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit / Brooklyn Manhattan Transit Power Plant at Division Avenue) in the image mark this location undoubtably as Wallabout Market. The actual open air marketplace is a tiny block to the left (which is Washington Avenue).

   The thoroughfare in the image however is Fleeman Avenue, which at Pier 5 (the pier occupied by the Lehigh Valley RR) jogged diagonally to the northeast and merged with Washington Avenue. The Dutch style structure on the left edge of the image is the building on the south bulkhead of Wallabout Canal of which houses Wallabout Basin Storage and the Erie Railroad Freight House. Metz Street is behind the photographer.


Baltimore & Ohio Piershed (east bulkhead) and Lehigh Valley Pier 5 (below leftmost smokestack) - Wallabout Canal / Market
Looking northwest along Fleeman Avenue.
Photo taken by Interstate Commerce Commission and Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Inventory Crew between 1916 and 1920.
image courtesy of Joseph DeMay

added 19 June 2010

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Baltimore & Ohio Wallabout Union Pier Station - unknown date (circa 1928)
Looking east southeast. Carfloat on left edge is at Lehigh Valley Railroad Pier Station. Carfloat on right edge of image is at Erie Railroad Pier Station
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Valuation photo
E. Bommer collection

added 26 December 2011

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   The following images, a zoom in from a Brooklyn Navy Yard Archives images, shows the "basin end" of the Pennsylvania Railroad's pier station at the Wallabout Union Freight Station. Note the station carfloat through the lattice legs of the crane.


August 25, 1933
unknown photographer
Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp Archives

added 04 May 2009

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January 26, 1934
(note New York Central tug approaching New York Central Pier Station on the next pier to right)
unknown photographer
Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp Archives
added 04 May 2009

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WALLABOUT STATION
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(ERIE RAILROAD)
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This facility will be located on this page until more information is discovered,
and at which time a separate page is warranted.


E. Belcher Hyde - 1916

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   The Erie Railroad maintained a freighthouse at the head of the Wallabout Basin on the south bulkhead and on the northeast corner of the intersection of Metz Street and Clinton Avenue.

   Extremely little information has been located about this facility to date.   

   According to the "Report of the Committee on Terminals and Transportation of the New York State Food Investigating Commission" published April 18, 1913; the Erie "Wallabout Station" freight house had a capacity of 10,000 square feet. 

   We also know it existed at the time of publication of the Terminal Facilities Map of 1940 at the top of this page.

   It appears from referencing the US Army Corp of Engineers Port Facilities Map of 1924, that the Erie Railroad occupied the west side of the structure and Wallabout Basin Storage occupied the east side of the same structure. Whether the space of Wallabout Basin Storage was leased from the Erie Railroad or Erie Railroad space leased from Wallabout Basin Storage, or it either occupant leased from another owner remains to be discovered.

   The following image (cropped and enlarged from the original negative, was acquired from the estate of the late Frank Zahn. While the photographs subject is the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal locomotive, it does show a portion of the Erie Railroad Wallabout Freight Depot between the front of BEDT #15 and the truck facing the photographer. Just under the awning and to the right of the tank truck, a sign can be made out "ERIE R"


Wallabout Market Terminal - September 10, 1941
(intersection of Clinton Avenue and Metz Street, looking north)
R. Wingard photo
F. Zahn archives

added 24 June 2010

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   The photo below, courtesy of the Brian Merliss archives (brooklynpix.com); shows a Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal tugboat heading out the Wallabout Basin with a loaded carfloat. While the tugboats name cannot be seen, the sideboards on the carfloat are marked Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal. This image is included here as this photo was taken at the very head (south bulkhead) of the Wallabout Basin where the Erie Railroad Freight Station was located. The photo was either taken from atop of a boxcar loaded aboard a station carfloat or out a second sotry window of the Erie Railroad Freight Depot. The pier occupied by the Lehigh Valley Railroad (Pier 5) is the pier with the doors on the right side of the image.


Wallabout Basin - February 1941
B. Merliss archives

added 24 June 2010

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   We do know that all the terminals, pier station facilities and the market closed by late 1941, when the United Stated Government announced the expansion of the New York Naval Shipyard (a/k/a Brooklyn Navy Yard) and seized the properties surrounding the Wallabout Basin. 

   While there would be no need to reconstruct the piers or freight houses, the farmers market would be relocated to Foster Avenue and East 83rd Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Canarsie. It would be renamed the "Brooklyn Terminal Market" where it still exists today.

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