4. The Idea for a Canal Originated as Early as the 1600s

Brooklyn-Map-1766-Gowanus Creek-Governors Island-Wallabout Bay-NYC-001Brouwer’s Mill on Gowanus Creek, number 18 on the map.  In public domain from Wikimedia Commons. Also located in New York Public Library.

This story of Brouwer’s Mill (also known as Freeke’s Mill) is not only important for the designation of being the oldest mill on Gowanus. Mr. Adam Brouwer, who built the mill, was the first to suggest the creation of a canal to avoid the dangerous waters around Red Hook. The mill, built before 1661, was located next to a hand-dug millpond, and would have been located in the middle of the present day canal. Over the the next century and more, the canal would repeatedly be widened to accommodate the increasing demands of industry and trade.
Get your tickets for this Thursday’s talk by Joseph Alexiou, author of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal at the Museum of the City of New York here.