The last remnant of a colonial Brooklyn road

Redhooklanestreetsign2Red Hook Lane is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stretch of road off bustling Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn.

This one-block lane is the last remnant of colonial-era Red Hook Lane, a Canarsie Indian trail that became the route from the heights of Brooklyn town through Dutch farmland to the swampy Red Hook waterfront.

Enlarge this 1760s map and you can just make out “Red Hook Lane” beneath Flatbush Avenue, where it says “Brookland Parish.”


It has Revolutionary War significance too. Red Hook Lane, an important Continental Army artery, is where George Washington watched the British outflank the Patriots at Gowanus Pass during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776.

Redhooklanesouth“Old Red Hook Lane was originally 25 feet wide, and ran from Boerum Place diagonally across Atlantic Avenue, between Court Street and Boerum Place, running near the old engine house on Pacific Street,” according to an 1894 New York Times piece.

“Then, turning, it cut the southeast corner of Pacific Street and Court Street. From there it passed along from Tompkins Place, and then to Henry Street.”

Incompatible with the urbanization of Brooklyn and an orderly street grid, Red Hook Lane (looking south, above) was slowly swallowed up by the growing city. (Red Hook in 1875, below).


A few curious reminders of its past glory remain. The odd angles of the buildings at 228 Atlantic Avenue and 234 State Street apparently reflect the path Red Hook Lane once took.

And signs for the Red Hook Lane Heritage Trail in Red Hook mark approximately where the old road used to be.


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8 Responses to “The last remnant of a colonial Brooklyn road”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    Reblogged this on The Realm Of Olde Brooklyn and commented:
    Every time I find an article like this, I’m always amazed how rich with Colonial history Brooklyn really is. I’m still surprised hearing George Washington’s name and that we can claim “The Battle of Brooklyn.” I try to imagine Brooklyn before it became the mini Metropolis it is today – With businesses competing in cramped quarters alongside residential homes and buildings. (Wistfully staring out the glass doors by the parking Lot at a row of 6 attached homes.- most likely 2-family, maybe with a tenant thrown in the converted basement.
    The map in the post shows just how much open space there was in 1760, vs. The painting of Red Hook in 1865, overflowing with buildings, houses, factories, bridges and then some.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      It amazes me too, all the Revolutionary War history just within the borders of all five boroughs. Some historians call it the Battle of Long Island but Battle of Brooklyn is more precise.

  2. Brad Eichmann Says:

    A friend is selling their place on 16th street and 3rd avenue in Gowanus. If you look at their floor plan you will see that the back yard is cut off at an angle because of an old road that ran through there. I don’t recall which one, but it sounds similar.

  3. Brad Eichmann Says:

    Forgot to post link

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    That might be Red Hook Lane! I love these quirky finds in Brooklyn. And by the way, I want that house.

  5. chas1133 Says:

    As an old Brooklynite, I love the history and pictures you come up with on a regular basis….warms the cockles of me heart!…(and I want that house!!!!!)

  6. wack60585 Says:

    Reblogged this on wack60585.

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