An 1874 Map of the Gowanus Canal area
Detail of 1874 Map
Union Street between Smith and Hoyt was once called Bergen Street
This section of President Street was Secor Place
The former Carroll Place, now Carroll Street
Carroll Gardener and friend Alexandrea is as passionate about the neighborhood's history as I am. Over the years, she has amassed an amazing collection of old photos and maps, which she generously shares often with me and PMFA readers. Recently, Alexandrea and I have emailed back and forth about a map from 1874 that she found of the area along the Gowanus Canal.
Very interestingly, four of the blocks between Smith and Hoyt Streets in our neighborhood had different names than they have today. For those blocks, Union Street was once called Bergen Street, President Street was Secor Place and Carroll Street was actually named Carroll Place. And Second Street, believe it or not, was called Balchen Place.
This new knowledge prompted Alexandrea and me to check historical documents and sure enough, we came across plenty of evidence that these blocks went by those names.
It has even been suggested by some neighborhood old-timers that Carroll Place and Secor Place (President) between Smith and Hoyt, which are close to the once private community garden now known as Carroll Park, were gated.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the streets were renamed, but from my search, I would conclude that the switch happened around the time the 1874 map above was printed since the name still appear in newspaper ads at that time. (See the 1875 'for sale' ad below.)
These streets were all laid out on land that belonged to farmer Jacob Bergen, descendant of a Dutch/Norwegian family. (You can read some fascinating Bergen family history here) The area of Bergen's farm was known as Bergen Hill and ran along the Gowanus Canal to Smith Street.
Below are some great information Alexandrea and I stumbled upon when we searched these old street names. I'll post more soon.
And as always, Alexandrea, thanks for sharing your finds with me and with everyone else.
Brooklyn Eagle Archive, November 23, 1854
***Take the time to read the mention of the desirability of the
proximity to the Gowanus canal in the ad above.