Saturday, August 14, 2010

Brooklyn Memories: A Glance backwards, 60 years Ago (6))

(Continued from Page: 5)

The ferry communication between New York and Brooklyn, is of all things most vital to the latter. To have it frequent, regular, safe and cheap, is a condition of its growth, almost of its existence. The vast corporation that now controls the ferries of the Western district, have secured to us the former these requisites. That in transporting millions of passengers annually, as the Union ferry have done for years, without any serious accident, should not be forgotten to the credit of the company; on the score of frequency and regularity no complaints can be made, and while we insist on cheapness, it should be remembered that those points which are even more essential are secured to us. Our historian gives the early history of the first ferry so concisely, that we use his own language:

One man of more force than the rest, and whose name is now lost, observing this intercourse to increase, and that the only way to the Indian settlements was by their foot paths, purchases a boat for the conveyance of people from New Amsterdam to Nassau island, for hire or an uncertain toll. He erects a booth or small ferry house on the shore, and causes a few logs to be got together for more convenient landing. The most uncultivated mind, even if left to itself, will make some improvement beyond the ordinary course of nature. With the proceeds of the ferry; in time, he erects a house of more conveniences and keeps an Inn and furnishes new and better boats for the conveyance of animals, as well as man. By a grant from the Governor to the City of New Amsterdam the jurisdiction of that corporation is made to extend to low water mark on Nassau island shore. This newly erected body purchases the ferry, house, and land from this man, and receives the profits.

It is worth while to contrast this incipient undertaking with the resources and facilities of the present corporation. Instead of the solitary boat the Union ferry company own a fleet, named and valued as follows:


Atlantic, cost

In the year 1800, there were in the township of Brooklyn but three schools, containing about
Total: $431,000

The "booth, or small ferry house on the shore," and the "logs got together for more convenient landing," are supplanted by the following ferry houses:

Ferry Houses, Etc.

Hamilton Ferry, New York side, valued at:
Hamilton Ferry, Brooklyn side, valued at:
Atlantic Ferry New York side, valued at:
Atlantic Ferry, Brooklyn side, valued at:
Montague Ferry, New York side, valued at:
Montague Ferry, Brooklyn side, valued at:
Fulton Ferry, New York Side, valued at:
Fulton Ferry, Brooklyn side, valued at:
Roosevelt Ferry, Brooklyn side, valued at:
Catharine Ferry, New York side, valued at:
Catharine Ferry, Brooklyn side, valued at:
$ 6,000
$ 2,500
$ 6,500
$ 4,800
$ 7,000
$ 9,000
$ 8,000

Total: $104,800

The Company has a capital of $800,000; they earn $64,000 interest on that sum: pay New York for rent of piers $56,000; and transport 35,000 each way daily.

To be continued: A Backward Glance 60 Years Ago (7)

Source of Information: Brooklyn Daily Eagle 5/14/1860

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