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The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel                                         Tunnel Tours Canceled by NYC DOT



The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel is officially the world's oldest subway tunnel.  This tunnel was built in 1844 beneath a busy street in the City of Brooklyn (Brooklyn did not become part of NYC until a half-century later).  The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel is a half-mile long and accommodated two standard gauge railroad tracks.

The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was built in only seven months, using the cut-and-cover method; only hand tools and primitive equipment was utilized in its construction.  It was built to provide grade separation for early Long Island Rail Road trains that lacked brakes good enough to operate on city streets.  The tunnel was built to attain grade separation for the previously existing LIRR route on the surface of Atlantic Avenue. The tunnel eliminated vehicular and pedestrian traffic conflicts and delays.

Bob Diamond rediscovered the long forgotten Atlantic Avenue Tunnel in 1980. The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA) was formed in 1982 to preserve, publicize and provide public access to the historic tunnel. BHRA successfully filed and received historic designations.  BHRA continues to maintain and conduct tours and events within the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.

The tunnel is located within both the Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill Historic Districts, and within a U.S. Historic District.  The Atlantic Avenue tunnel is a landmarked and protected historic site (It has been a Federal (and State of New York) officially registered Landmark since September 7, 1989: National Register of Historic Places, NRHP Reference#: 76001225).


- Historic Images & Articles

- Photos of Recent Tunnel Tours

- Art Events in the Tunnel

- Upcoming Tunnel Tours

- Links to other Tunnel Webpages

- Movies and Video

- Paranormal, Ephemera & Additional Historical Articles

- Pirates & Vampires In The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel?

- Recent Historical Research

-Roster Of All Early LIRR Locomotives

- Excavated Steam Locomotives Found Elsewhere

- Buried / Abandoned Trains Found Beneath NYC Streets

-
LIRR - 1845 Report to Stockholders (PDF)

-
The Truth Behind The Failure Of The LIRR's Brooklyn To Boston Route, Ca. 1844-1847

- LIRR goes to Sea - Steamboat


-
Historic LIRR / Tunnel Maps

- Why The World's First Subway Was Built In Brooklyn (in 1844) (PDF)

- The Source Of The 19th Century Folklore Surrounding The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel: Brooklyn's Notorious "Smoky Hollow" Slum

- Antebellum Brooklyn Cops


- Artifact Proves Folklore About "Bootleggers" In the Tunnel


- Early LIRR Rolling Stock 1830's - 1861  (pdf)

- References To The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, As Written In The Cosgrove Report (the book that inspired the Tunnel's discovery)

-Early Writings About The Tunnel By The American Society of Civil Engineers


-The Horrors of Steam Powered Travel (from Harper's Weekly, 1865)


- Why the LIRR Wasn't Completed Before 1837?(PDF) 

Litchfield's Money Trail - The Real Reason The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Was Closed In 1861

- Portraits of Former Presidents of the LIRR (1835 -1862)


- Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Maps / Drawings / Surveys / Studies

- Abraham Lincoln's Assassin, John Wilkes Booth, Really Was In Brooklyn in 1863 - Find out Why?

Why The LIRR Was Built . . . In Response To A "Micro Ice Age" That Blocked Steamboat Navigation 100 Days A Year! (PDF)
 
The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Alternative Design (open cut alternative design c.1832

- Directions






1845 Pic of Atlantic Avenue Tunnel

1845 Drawing of the Entrance to the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel

note: this is a circa 1845 official LIRR illustration of the west end of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. Note the light from the ventilator shaft inside the tunnel.  While opening for operation on 12/3/1844, the finishing touches to the tunnel were not completed until April, 1845.  This illustration was the property of William H. Baldwin, Jr. (President of the LIRR 1896- 1905). 





- Historic Images & Articles


 


An 1844 view of the tunnel.

An early LIRR engine from the period (4-2-0 wheel set-up). American locomotive used In the tunnel by the LIRR. Locomotive built by Matthias Baldwin

The volunteer crew that improved tunnel access in 1982

An engineering diagram of the tunnel.

"Brooklyn has the Oldest Subway in the World"
Brooklyn Eagle Article 7/23/1911 (2.4mb)
Opens as PDF file (zoom in for detail)
Bob Diamond Discovering The Tunnel Entrance Ca. 1980. He Gained Entry Into The Tunnel's Main Chamber In 1981
Brooklyn Eagle Article 5/31/1896 (3.3mb)
Opens as PDF file (zoom in for detail)
Opening Day of The Atlantic Ave Tunnel
Brooklyn Eagle Article 12/5/1844 (3mb)

Opens as PDF file (zoom in for detail)




"Old Tunnel Eludes Police Explorers"
New York Times 1936 (100k)
Opens as PDF file (zoom in for detail)
Original Brooklyn LIRR Ticket Office 1836- 1861, Brooklyn Eagle June 28 1916.  (zoom in for detail)





Original Invitation To The Opening Of The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel In 1844. Presented To The Editor Of The Brooklyn Evening Star.  Note: The Tunnel Was Not Fully Completed Until Mid 1845
A Writing On The LIRR's Locomotive "Boston" Ca. 1845 And The LIRR's Brooklyn To Boston Route. The Locomotive "Boston" Was One Of The Early LIRR's Speedsters- Designed To Hold a Speed Of 40MPH, and Sprint Up To 60 MPH. From The Book "The Quickest Route The History of the Norwich and Worcester RR" By Elmer Farnham, 1973



Twin of the LIRR's Hicksville and John A. King (ex Taglione), the British "Planet" Type Locomotive.
Early Rogers Built Locomotive Similar To The LIRR's Engine "Brooks"










Norris 4-2-0 Engine, Similar To The LIRR's Little And Ruggles Locomotives
Rogers built engine similar to the LIRR's "Phoenix"
 


What some of the LIRR Trains that ran through the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel in the 1840s looked like

This circa 1842 woodcut was copied from a daguerreotype of a train on the Western RR of Massachusetts.

We checked the Western RR's contemporary Director's reports, and the equipment they used was of the same type and manufacturers as that used by the LIRR during the same time period. In particular, a "Planet" type 2-2-0 engine built by Locks and Canals, and eight wheel passenger cars apparently built by Davenport & Bridges are depicted in the drawing.

It is documented that the LIRR had two "Planet" type engines, the first was the "Hicksville" built by Locks and Canals in 1836, the second was the John A. King, built by the Poughkeepsie Locomotive Engine Company in 1838. It is also documented that the LIRR purchased eight wheel passenger cars from both Davenport & Bridges, and Eaton & Gilbert.




- Historic Images & Articles: LIRR goes to Sea - LIRR Steamboats


greenport ferry terminal

"Earliest View of the LIRR's Greenport Terminus and Intermodal Transfer, circa 1844- 1847"
Note the Ariel steam locomotive, Davenport & Bridges 4 axle passenger car, the LIRR's steamboat "Cleopatra" and the Peconic House hotel.

Walt Whitman's comments on a local LIRR train ride from Brooklyn to Greenport, ca 1846. (See pgs 118- 121) (external link)
The LIRR went to sea from August, 1844 though February, 1847.  As part of its route between Brooklyn and Boston, the LIRR owned and operated a small fleet of steamboats, the Cleopatra, the Worcester and the New Haven. These steamboats made the waterborne connection between the eastern terminus of the LIRR at Greenport, Long Island, and the Connecticut rail terminals of the Norwich &Worcester RR at Allyn's Point, and the New York, Providence & Boston at Stonington.
 
In late 1845, the LIRR commissioned the construction of a fourth steamboat, the Atlantic.  The Atlantic was the fastest, largest and most luxurious steamboat ever built in the U.S.  This steamboat was intended for the LIRR's planned "through route" rail connection to Boston, via the Fall River RR (MA). However, it was sold to the N&W prior to its completion, as the LIRR's Fall River RR link didn't occur as planned.
 
Below, are drawings of the Cleopatra, the New Haven, the Worcester and the Atlantic.  The Atlantic was completed in May 1846 for the Norwich & Worcester RR, and subsequently used to compete against the LIRR.




the Atlantic  the Worcester


the New Haven the Cleopatra


Sources for the steamboat pictures:
the New Haven- The Connecticut Magazine, 1906, Vol 10, pg 702
the Cleopatra- The Connecticut Magazine, 1906, Vol 10, pg 307
the Worcester -The Connecticut Magazine, Vol 10, 1906 pg 697
the Atlantic- History of American Steam Navigation, By John H. Morrison, 1903, pg 329




Tunnel Tour Photos:


One of the BHRA's tours of the tunnel. Atlantic Avenue Tunnel - Manhole and Traffic Cones
 (Photo By Jerry Walsh) 



High Resolution Photos - Aug. 2007 Tunnel Tour (Photos By Justin N. Lane)











Photos from September 2007 Tunnel Tour (Photos by John Leita)






Photos from May 2008 Tunnel Tour (photos by Laura Lietta)




Photos from Summer 2008 Tunnel Tour (photos by Diana Sabreen)




Photos from Fall 2010 (photo by J Blakeslee)


tunnel pic



- Links to Other Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Websites



Curious Expeditions - A great page on the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, tunnel tours, related history, etc.

Atlantic Avenue Tunnel - A great page on the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel and what Walt Whitman wrote about it.

The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel - More Pictures and Info on the Atlantic Avenue tunnel can be found here.

The Lost tunnel of Brooklyn - Article on the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel from Mechanical Engineering Magazine

 Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Art Events Info   

Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Info - Information on upcoming events Atlantic Avenue Tunnel tours and Trolley Events in Red Hook will be posted on the events page  


Movies and Video

Movies and Video showing the tunnel can be found on this page in 
quicktime/.wmv formats.








The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel  - Paranormal, Ephemera & Additional Historical Information 
 


 W.Whitman Article



A 19th Century writing about AA tunnel by Walt Whitman
Man Cut In Half In Tunnel (Shocking Accident);
Brooklyn Eagle Sept 27, 1854; Page 3
Man Killed Falling Into Tunnel Construction;
 Brooklyn Eagle Sept 17, 1844; Page 2
The Tunnel Ghost Arrested  [note: no one was ever actually apprehended]; Brooklyn Eagle Sept 22, 1846; Page 2






"Tunnel Construction Overseer Murdered As Strike Called", "Brooklyn Evening Star May 29, 1844 Pg 2, Note: The Worker's Demands Apparently Were Met Two Days Later
  "Tunnel Construction Worker
Killed", "Brooklyn Evening
Star, July 11 1844 Pg 2







Pirates & Vampires In The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel?







Red Hook Brooklyn resident, H.P. Lovecraft, weighed in with his own tales of underground Atlantic Avenue, in a circa 1925 short story about centuries old "Persian Vampires" inhabiting  tunnels under Atlantic Avenue. It's called "The Horror At Red Hook":
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Horror_at_Red_Hook
 
http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/thehorroratredhook.htm
 






"Atlantic Avenue Tunnel - A Romance" A (fictional?) story about Pirates who used the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel that was published in the New York Times in 1893




The Origins of Brooklyn's Cobble Hill- and Its Ghosts !






During the American Revolution, a fort was built on the pre-existing hill called "Ponkiesbergh", which was centered at what is now Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street. The "Corkscrew Fort" as it was called, describing its shape, or the "Cobble Hill Fort", as it was also called, overlooked New York Harbor and South Brooklyn, with the fort mounting three cannon. During the War of 1812, it was reactivated, and renamed "Fort Swift".

As for the "Cobble Hill Ghost", according to his "Miscellaneous Notes" of October 1835, contemporary Brooklyn historian Gabriel Furman, wrote "about 40 years ago, it was currently reported about Kings County, that the spot of ground about 100 feet northeasterly from the corner of Atlantic and Court Streets, then in the old Red Hook Lane, and near the foot of a fortification then known as Cobble Hill Fort...was haunted by the spirit of a murdered man".

According to other contemporary writers, ie. Lossing and Dawson, this particular location was exactly where the eastern portal of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel would then be located in 1845. They describe this fort was being located "at the head of the Long Island Railroad tunnel in the vicinity of Boerum Street and Atlantic Street".

Interestingly enough, according to an article (in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Sept. 22, 1846, pg 2 ) a "poltergeist" type problem was described as existing at this very location, severely agitating the general public as well as the Police who had to investigate, and also interfering with the operation of the LIRR.
 
According to contemporary reports, during the early 1830's, Cobble Hill was partially cut down, the spoil being removed by horse powered tramway cars to the vicinity of the present day Carroll Gardens, where this material was then used as land fill.

Source: The History of the City of Brooklyn, by Henry Stiles, 1867, Vol 1, Pg 252


Expanded Information on the Locomotive in the Sealed Off Portion of the Tunnel.  
Watch a Circa 1836 LIRR Locomotive (Hicksville) In Action


We've identified an early LIRR locomotive very similar to the engine depicted in the circa 1844 woodcut drawing of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel portal area. This may very well be the same locomotive reportedly still buried in a filled in section of the tunnel near Columbia Street*.

According to oral tradition, back in 1861, an obsolete locomotive was being used by Mr. Litchfield to haul dirt fill for sealing up the tunnel.   The crank axle broke, and without the means to repair or remove it, they just left the engine in the backfill at the western end of the tunnel.  Perhaps this explains why the tunnel was not fully filled in. Without the means of hauling in more fill, Litchfield decided to simply wall off the tunnel at both ends instead of fully filling it in.

Identifying the precise type of engine was difficult, because the book "Steel Rails To The Sunrise" identified the firm "Locks and Canals" (L & C) as an early American locomotive builder. In reality, this make of locomotive was an American made “knock off copy” of a well known British design, the “Planet” type 2-2-0 engine first built by Robert Stephenson of Newcastle England in 1830.

L & C were not originally a locomotive manufacturer. As the name implies, they were involved in building locks and canals, near Lowell Mass., starting about 1800 or so, making it one of the oldest corporations in the U.S. The firm still exists today as a hydro electric plant in Lowell. "Proprietors of Locks and Canals" was originally a company that dug out canals and built canal locks- not a locomotive builder at all **.

However, due to the prostration of their canal building business caused by the popularity of railroads, beginning in 1834, the Locks and Canals machine shop in Lowell, Mass. began building “knock off” copies of Robert Stephenson's famous “Planet” type 2-2-0 steam locomotive ***;****;*****. 

According to the Robert Stephenson website, Locks and Canals acquired and assembled from “kit form” two early steam locomotives from the British locomotive pioneer Robert Stephenson, both in 1831. One locomotive was Stephenson order # 17, a 2-2-0 wheel configuration named the "Whistler", and the other was Stephenson order # 8 an 0-4-0 type called the "Stephenson".

These two British made locomotives, especially the Planet type “Whistler”, became the  basis of Locks and Canals locomotive business. Maj. George Washington Whistler was the engineer in charge of producing the copies of Stephenson's locomotives. Later, Whistler went on to build the first railroad in Russia (and among other things, gave them their five foot track gage). Whistler's son, an artist, painted “Whistler's Mother”.

The Brooklyn and Jamaica RR (predecessor of the LIRR) bought one of these British “knock off” locomotives from Locks And Canals in 1836. This engine was called the "Hicksville". It was taken out of regular service in 1848, but carried on the LIRR's books until 1853, when it was deemed “not worth repairing”. The “Hicksville” was among the first locomotives to use a steam whistle ******.

Bearing in mind that gas cutting and welding of heavy metal material was not invented until the late nineteenth century, what better way to dispose of a locomotive “not worth repairing” than to bury it in the earthen fill at the tunnel's west portal area in 1861, only a few yards from where the “Hicksville” sat dormant for years in the LIRR's former rail yard facility at Columbia Street & Atlantic Avenue.

Courtesy of modern technology, we can actually watch the ancient LIRR locomotive “Hicksville” in operation. A working replica of Stephenson's “Planet” locomotive, the precise twin of Locks And Canals “Hicksville”, has been built for the Manchester, U.K. Science Museum. It can be seen operating in these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDFXFgR0bHY&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOktRo3A36w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TzyAX8L9Us


*        Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 23, 1911, pg 3
**      Wikipedia.
***     Development of the Locomotive Engine by Angus Sinclair, 1907 pgs 179,180
****   The Saco-Lowell Shops 1813-1949 By George Gibb, 1950 pgs 93 and 641
***** The P.T. Jackson Letter; Feb 9, 1839, Reprinted in Bulletin No. 4 The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society 1923 pgs 44,45
******Locomotives of the Long Island Railroad by Inglis Stuart; Bulletin No. 10 The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society 1925, pgs 9-11


Thanks to Richard A. Fleischer for pointing out additional research materials.



Robert Stephenson designed two of the LIRR's early steam locomotives, the Hicksville and John A. King (ex Taglioni).  These locomotives were purchased by the Brooklyn & Jamaica RR in the 1830's, and later were operated by the LIRR in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. 
Matthias Baldwin built some of the early steam locomotives that operated through the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.


"Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt was the Operations Director and a Board Member of the LIRR at the time the tunnel was built. He was in charge of getting it completed. William Beard was the contractor. The LIRR was Vanderbilt's first railroad enterprise- not the New York Central RR, as is the popular thought.
William Beard, The Contractor Who Built The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel



Thomas Rogers, He Built Many Of the Locomotives That Operated Through The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel




Major David Bates Douglass, the designer of the LIRR's routes to Boston, and the railroad's original Chief Engineer. Among his other accomplishments were the design of NYC's first Croton Aqueduct, as well as Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery. Douglass may have also created the final design for the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.  Also see this page: the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel open cut alternative design c.1832

There are distinct similarities between Douglass's Croton Aqueduct design and The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. Douglass's  prior relationship with the LIRR and the Brooklyn & Jamaica Railroad, as well as other circumstances make it likely that he was the chief designer of The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.

D. B. Douglass was a bit of an "eccentric genius". He was a gifted designer, but he rarely stayed long enough in one place to see any of his projects through to completion.

For example, in 1833 Douglass designed the first Croton Aqueduct and the famous stone arched Highbridge over the Harlem River, but the aqueduct was completed years later by John B. Jervis.

Later in 1833, Douglass surveyed and did the design and estimates for the Brooklyn & Jamaica Railroad.

In 1834, together with another engineer, William C. Young, Douglass surveyed and did the design and estimates for the LIRR's Brooklyn to Boston route, from Jamaica to Greenport. However, the task of building the LIRR fell to Gen. William Gibbs McNeil and James I. Shipman, the LIRR's second and third Chief Engineers.

He did the planning for Brooklyn's first water aqueduct system, designed the huge masonry retaining wall which supported Brooklyn Heights before the BQE was built a hundred years later, and created the plan for draining South Brooklyn, which originally was tidal wetland.

Through his career, Douglass was professor of Natural Philosophy at West Point, of Engineering at NYU, professor of architecture at CUNY, and later President of Kenyon (then known as Geneva) College, and finally chair of the mathematics department at Hobart College.


Sources:

Lives and works of civil and military engineers of America,  By Charles Beebe Stuart, 1871

American Railroad Journal And Advocate Of Internal Improvements, December 20, 1834, Volume III--No 50, pg 785- 786








1835 -1847  Portraits of Former Presidents of the Long Island Railroad








1847-1862   Portraits of Former Presidents of the Long Island Railroad



Locomotive Roster from the beginning of LIRR to end of operations in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel
Compiled for BHRA by Richard A. Fleischer





LIRR Locomotive Roster





LIRR - 1845 Report to Stockholders (1.25Mb PDF file)
Report to the Board of Directors January 01, 1845 - George B. Fisk, President, Long Island Rail Road Company.











The Source Of The 19th Century Folklore- And Reality- Surrounding The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel: Brooklyn's Notorious "Smoky Hollow" Slum






Atlantic Avenue Really Did "Host" a 19th Century Gang Of  Cop Killers, River Pirates, Smugglers, Boot Leggers, Thieves and Home Invaders. 

The New York Times first made the connection between the tunnel and the "river pirate" gang, etc., in a story printed in 1893.  The connection they made stuck, as can be seen in a Brooklyn Eagle article which appeared a few years later in 1911 (to properly display article, set PDF enlargement tool to 300%).

a 1903 Thomas Edison film of cops chasing River Pirates in NY Harbor




Below we delve into the Source Of Much Of The 19th Century Folklore- And Reality- Surrounding The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel.
 
In the mid nineteenth century, the City of Brooklyn was booming from an economic point of view, but from a social perspective, it was an example of a Tale Of Two Cities (as was its sister metropolis, New York City).  Vast numbers of poverty stricken recent immigrants were congregated into extremely overcrowded tenements immediately south of Atlantic Street  (This tenement neighborhood was formerly a tidal wetland farm area). This area adjacent to the downtown Brooklyn waterfront, came to be known as "Smoky Hollow"; it was originally bound by Atlantic Avenue, Amity Street, Hicks Street and the waterfront. As time went on, the boundaries of Smoky Hollow expanded.

Smoky Hollow was a slum of crime and poverty that rivaled Manhattan's infamous Five Points.  This notorious area existed for over half a century, starting in the 1860's. This center of assignation was presided over by the Smoky Hollow Gang, said to have been organized in 1867. They were a motley crew of cop killers, river pirates, smugglers, thieves, bootleggers and home invaders. They were led by the Mungerford brothers, Edward Glynn and Miles McPartland. For amusement, they are known to have nearly beaten to death a poor Organ Grinder, and slashed the throat of a musician who's tunes they didn't care for.

The smoky hollow gang's illegal activities were both tolerated and protected by "Boss" McLaughlin's City of Brooklyn political machine. McLaughlin's "machine" was said to have utilized the gang as its "enforcement" and "get out the vote" arm, via 6th Ward Alderman James Dunne. Dunne was described by a contemporary as a "prize fighter, ballot box stuffer and protector of thieves". This combination was no doubt patterned after the same sort of relationship that existed between Manhattan's Tammany Hall and gangs such as the Dead Rabbits.
 
Oddly enough, it appears the denizens of Smoky Hollow didn't make much use of firearms. Their weapon of choice was the straight razor, though they sometimes used a twelve pound cobblestone as a bludgeon.

The following, are a few contemporary newspaper articles on some of the gang's activities, and the living conditions in Smoky Hollow:
 
"[Description Of Smoky Hollow In 1873]", Brooklyn Eagle, May 31, 1873, pg2 (Set PDF Enlargement Tool To 800%)
"Brooklyn's Gang Of Murderers" [Cop Killing], NY Times, April 27, 1880
"Attempt To Defeat Justice" Brooklyn Eagle, May 11, 1880, pg2
"Officer Stone's Murderers Get Light Sentence", NY Times May 18, 1880
"He Didn't Like The Music", Brooklyn Eagle, April 21, 1887, pg6
" An Outrageous Assault", Brooklyn Eagle, June 5, 1882, pg4
"[Twelve Year Old Leads Home Invasion]", Brooklyn Eagle, July 22, 1891, pg2
"Two Brooklyn Police Badly Beaten", Brooklyn Eagle, Aug 15, 1890, pg4
"[Smoky Hollow Gang] Savagely Attack Policemen", Brooklyn Eagle, Feb 6, 1882, pg3
"The Razor Its Terrible Use In Smoky Hollow", Brooklyn Eagle, July 27, 1880, pg4 (Set PDF Enlargement Tool To 300%)
"[River Pirates- The Smoky Hollow Gang]", Brooklyn Eagle, Nov 13, 1892, pg 16 (Set PDF Enlargement Tool to 600%)




Police In Antebellum Brooklyn

Police and Thieves:  After Reading About The Criminal World Of 19th Century Atlantic Avenue, Here's some info on: 
  the Antics of Cops in Brooklyn before the Civil War (3mb pdf file)

The yellow sheets (within the pdf file) are extracts from:

Brooklyn City and Kings County Record, Compiled and Published by William H. Smith, 1855. Gives the names of contemporary senior BPD Police officials, locations of the Police stations, Courts and Jails and force complement.
 
The white sheets (within the pdf file) are:

Extracts from the Doctoral Thesis of Jacob Judd, PhD., New York University,1959. Gives detailed description of the early history and structure of the antebellum City of Brooklyn Police Department, Circa 1834- 1855.






Artifact Proves Folklore About "Bootleggers" In The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel
 
An artifact that was discovered some time ago, but not cataloged until recently, proves the legend about "Bootleggers" using the tunnel was in fact the truth.











This shard of crockery contains the name and address of a "liquor dealer" who's store, according to the Brooklyn City Directory of 1859, By J. Lain, was located in the LIRR's Ticket Office near Columbia Street (20 Atlantic Street).
 
The shard reads as follows:

[C]AVANAGH
[STAT]E LIQUOR DEALER
[20 ATLA]NTIC ST BROOKLYN
 
Considering that when it was found, this crockery fragment was with the remains of several large smashed whiskey jugs and a pile of burned charcoal, it would appear that Mr. Cavanagh in true Smoky Hollow style, was beating the Whiskey Tax by distilling his own beverages.








Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Maps / Drawings / Surveys / Studies

In this section you'll find Documentation of The LIRR's original Columbia Street Terminal and the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel's Western Entrance Area (From Historical 19th Century Composite Drawings), As Well As Conceptual Designs For The Tunnel Created by BHRA (In Conjunction With The City's Engineers) During the 1980's (1.4mb PDF)

Also . . . Follow This Link For:  The Reasons Why The Tunnel Was Built In 1844







Tunnel Composite Map  -  Historic Maps (1846, 1851, 1855, 1856 and 1886) Overlayed Squared over Current 2009 Tax Map








Railroad Commission Drawings (1856)






Tunnel Preliminary Entrance Concept (1983)






Tunnel East Portal Preliminary Design (1988)






Tunnel West Portal Preliminary Design (1988)









Circa 1851 bird's eye view of the LIRR's Columbia Street inter-modal train shed/pier, the ticket office bldg with the Federal style roof (later 20 Atlantic Street), a 3 car train and engine and the west portal structure.









This closeup captures the concept behind the tunnel being the world's first subway- note the train is going under the street, while a horse drawn wagon and pedestrian have exclusive use of the street above, unmolested by the early steam trains which had inadequate brakes. Note the end of the tunnel was in fact "crowed" above street grade west of Hicks Street.




Early Writings About The Tunnel By The American Society of Civil Engineers

In 1910 and 1911, writings in the American Society of Civil Engineer's Transactions referred to the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel as a Subway:

Transactions Vol. LXVIII, September 1910 (with drawing) Pg 36- 37

Transactions Vol. LXXIV, December 1911 Pg 144- 145






Information on Upcoming Tunnel Tours can be found on the bhra_events page








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