Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Update: More Information On Old Red Hook/Yellow Hook Map

1837 Coastal Survey - Red Hook, Gowanus, etc

1837 U.S. Coast Survey Map


old map I posted on November 17th

I can always count on Carroll Gardens friend Rick to point me in the right direction when I have a question about the neighborhood's history.
Rick sent me the comment below and a link to the 1837 U.S. Coast Survey Map from the University Of Alabama's map archive, in response to the old map I had posted on PMFA yesterday. Rick sheds some interesting light on what the purpose and the age of the old map could have been.
Thanks, Rick!

Read on:

Your map looks like a stylized version of a U.S. Coast Survey map drawn in 1837. The Coast Surveys were the first major federal effort to precisely measure/document waterways and topographic features. You can actually download these in high resolution from the University of Alabama’s amazing maps website, The
1837 one seems to be the closest, except that it doesn’t show “Yellow Hook.” That may have come from another source/adaptation -- probably just a few years later (yet before the Gowanus Canal was constructed).

As I mentioned, you can get the very high resolution ones, as well as other years, via the University of Alabama Geography Department website.
For those, you’d also need to download a browser plug-in called ExpressView, but once you have it there’s a wealth of stuff out there!

Reader Batman also sent in some great information about the name Yellow Hook, which is indicated on the map. He writes:

It's actually Bay Ridge that was called Yellow Hook, I think for the yellow clay ground. The name was changed in the 1800's because of fears that people would associate the area with Yellow Fever.

There is still a bar in Bay Ridge called Yellow Hook.

I don't know about you, but I love these historical facts. Keep them coming.

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Anonymous said...

If you research who occupied the land of Yellow Hook in the late 1600's you'll turn up my direct ancestor, Gerrit Stoffelse. He is mentioned as a leaseholder of that land, which was just N of where he was raised by his stepfather, Rut Joosten VanBrunt, with 79th St being known at that time as Van Brunt Lane. Gerrit had been orphaned on September 16th, 1655, when his father was killed in the Peach War. His stepmother remarried to Van Brunt in 1657 and had three sons. My Gerrit Stoffelse baptised at least 9 of his 10 children at the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church before removing all to Bucks County, PA by 1697.

Marcy Vansandt
11th generation American.

Katia said...

Marcy, That is so cool. Thank you so much for sharing some of your family's history. It would be great to do a post on this. Please contact me directly at