BROOKLYN’S “GREAT WHITE HURRICANE” (1888)

“Brooklyn awoke this morning to find itself in the hands of the blizzard.” So read the morning edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle almost 130 years ago on Monday, 12 March 1888, about the record snowstorm that, over a day-and-a-half period, dropped up to three feet of snow on the city, produced sustained winds of 40 miles per hours, and created snowdrifts in some places in excess of 50 feet! Nearly all transportation was shut down completely and many Brooklynites were confined to their homes for up to a week. While the city slept the rain that had rendered last evening slightly unpleasant had turned to snow, the wind had increased to a tempest and all life was driven from the streets. Street cars were unable to proceed. The horses were detached and taken to the nearest place of shelter. The inmates of the cars saw the huge drifts of snow pile up above the window ledges, heard the shrieks of the wires above their heads and did not leave the cars unless an open house was very near at hand. It was about 1 o’clock when the storm became furious and it raged for ten hours with undiminished violence. Those who ventured out during the morning were treated to a view of the city unparalleled in its history. During the entire morning there was little concerted effort, except along the principle business part of Fulton Street, to open traffic or carry on any business. Half the city felt that […]

SNOW DAY ON BERGEN & FLATBUSH (1888)

Although today was merely a dusting in comparison to the Blizzard of 1888, it gives us an opportunity to look back on what the aftermath of a real snowstorm looked like. In the inset black & white photograph, we see men clearing snow outside of a coal & wood store after the blizzard at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Bergen Street. We’ve included a Google Maps view of what that corner looks like today. The Coal & Wood shop is now a Gino’s Pizza at 218 Flatbush Avenue. Follow @BrownstoneDetec ———————————————————————————————————————– The Brownstone Detectives The story you have just read was composed from extensive historical research conducted by The Brownstone Detectives. We perform in-depth investigations on the historic homes of our clients, and produce for them their very own House History Books. Our hardbound books contain an illustrated and colorful narrative timeline that will bring the history of any house to life. Contact us today to begin discovering the history of your home.

BLOOD ON THE SNOWBALL: THE RAZOR (1888)

As the snow piled up during the Blizzard of 1888, Brooklynites began to experience countless fights. Snowball fights, that is. Most were lighthearted and fun, romps in the snow bringing joy and relief from the endless shoveling and the stress of everyday life with the white stuff. But sometimes these snowball fights turned ugly, exposing the more unsavory side of Brooklynites. They showed how quickly a snowball fight could evolve from a joyful game into mayhem-filled terror. Two cases, in particular, made the pages of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle during the week of the historic blizzard. One involved a razor. The second involved a gun. THE RAZOR The day after the “Great White Hurricane” struck Brooklyn, Vincent Ciemon was a very tired man. He had reason to be after a long day of shoveling snow following the first full day of the Blizzard of 1888. He had just been employed by the Long Island Railroad Company as that organization needed day laborers to help dig out their engines in the city and beyond. On his way home around 5 p.m., to the apartment where he lived with his family on East New York Avenue in Brownsville, Ciemon had just reached Rockaway Avenue “when a snowball struck him in the back.” Ciemon, identified by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in the story as “The Italian,” had only a hundred or so feet before he arrived home and so, tired as he was, he did not even turn around to challenge his tormentors. […]

BROOKLYN: 66 VIEWS OF THE STORM (1888)

In 1888, Adrian Vanderveer Martense, a member of an old Brooklyn Dutch family and resident of Flatbush, snapped 66 photographs throughout the 1888 Blizzard. Those photographs are with us to this day at the Brooklyn Visual Heritage. According to the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Martense family built a homestead in Flatbush which included land that is now part of Green-Wood Cemetery. Their homestead stood for several generations until the family sold it in 1889, when Flatbush was transitioning from a farming community into an inner suburb. For Adrian Vanderveer Martense, Flatbush became a subject for his photography. He documented houses, streets, and his friends and neighbors in Flatbush, as well as the momentous Blizzard of 1888. Follow @BrownstoneDetec ———————————————————————————————————————– The Brownstone Detectives This story was composed from research performed by The Brownstone Detectives. Allow us do an in-depth investigation of your house and its former owners and produce your very own House History Book. Your hardbound coffee table book will include an illustrated and colorful narrative timeline that will bring the history of your house to life. Contact us today.

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