2. The Fulton Ferry Terminal: the gateway to Brooklyn since before the American Revolution

Fulton Ferry Terminal, 1863. New York Public Library Digital Collection. 

Fulton Ferry landing’s history of ferry service goes back over 300 years. The earliest Brooklyn ferry house was built there circa 1700, with a distinctly Dutch stepped roof. In 1730, the Montgomery Charter claimed the Brooklyn shoreline as part of Manhattan, and the property of King George II. Brooklyn residents protested by burning down the ferry house in 1748.

When Robert Fulton pioneered steam-powered ferry service to Manhattan in 1814, Old Ferry Road was rechristened in his honor (Today, it’s called Old Fulton Street). As the ferry business entered its golden age, the Union Ferry Company solidified its monopoly on service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. In 1865, they built a grand Fulton Ferry terminal, using cast-iron construction. The Union Ferry building was torn down in 1926, but survives in late 19th-century photographs.