Posts Tagged ‘Norwegians in Brooklyn’

Atlantic Avenue: the “Swedish Broadway”

February 22, 2010

Today, the harbor end of Brooklyn’s main drag has a mix of bars and restaurants, high-end boutiques and antique stores, and Middle Eastern shops.

But in the late 19th century, it was the home base of Scandinavian immigrants in Brooklyn, known as the “Swedish Broadway.”

(Photo of Atlantic and Third Avenue, from the NYPL)

A search through the pre-1902 Brooklyn Eagle archives turns up a Swedish press (Svenska Amerikanska Presson) at 563 Atlantic, a banquet hall (Tura Verein Hall) at 351 Atlantic, and a notice that the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co. now prints signs in Swedish in street cars going through the “Swedish Colony.”

And an 1891 Eagle article describes the estimated 20,000 Swedes centered around Fourth Avenue as “frugal, industrious, and very well behaved.”

(Atlantic and Henry Street building, from the NYPL)

Bay Ridge’s Eighth Avenue soon took over as home to a large concentration of Scandinavian Brooklynites (mostly Norwegian) during the 20th century.

But back on Atlantic, one of the few surviving remnants of the old neighborhood is Bethlehem Lutheran Church (below photo), at Third and Pacific, established in 1874.

Another (now Episcopalian) church, at 424 Dean Street, began in the 1870s as Immanuel Swedish Methodist Church.