Cobble Hill in northwestern Brooklyn is a small 40-block neighborhood known for its rowhouses and pristine architecture. Cobble Hill is also one of Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods because of its historic architecture and its proximity to Downtown Brooklyn. Many buildings, including churches and homes, date back to pre-Civil War times, and the neighborhood played a major role in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Residents have included Spike Lee, Norah Jones, and Martin Amis, as well as the mother of Winston Churchill. Here is our guide to the top 12 secrets of Cobble Hill!
1. Cobble Hill was the site of a major fort during the Revolutionary War
Cobble Hill was named after the hill “Cobleshill” or “Ponkiesbergh” around the intersection of Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street, and Court Street. Originally settled by the Dutch in the 1640s, the hill and surrounding area were later converted into a strategic fort and planning post during the American Revolution. The spot where Trader Joe’s is situated was once the location of Cobble Hill Fort during the Battle of Brooklyn, serving as a significant lookout point. General Washington used it to view the battle at Gowanus Creek.
During the British occupation of the hill, forces cut off the top of the hill so that their Brooklyn Heights headquarters could not be seen from the top. The British also converted Philip Livingston’s nearby home into a naval hospital. After the Revolutionary War, the area lay rather dormant until the War of 1812, when the fort was occupied again and renamed Fort Smith. However, southern Brooklyn remained predominantly rural until the 1830s, when new streets and homes were constructed.