The corner of Fulton and Front streets was for decades a commercial hub in Brooklyn. Fulton heads south toward City Hall and then turns east to what was then known as Bedford, while Front proceeds east to Vinegar Hill, known for most of its history as Irish Town. In the 1830’s and ’40s, the stretch of Front street here was considered something of a fashionable district with tailors, dressmakers and fancy goods shops tucked in among old residences and a coffee house or two.
The first building on this corner was a frame structure built in the 1790s as a local printing office. It was converted around 1815 into the hardware store of Thomas Birdsall, seen as the cream-colored house on the right side of Francis Guy’s famous series of scenes depicting the southern view of Front and Main. It also doubled as the neighborhood post office and later a tailor shop.
Commercial interests dominated the area by the 1830s when the Brooklyn Insurance Company built a new brick building on the site with Beers Arch Stoves as a neighbor. The Brooklyn Standard Union built a new corner printing office after the Civil War where it functioned as the rival Republican newspaper to the Brooklyn Eagle until 1932. The corner was demolished in the 1950s as part of the BQE project.
This view today:
Engraving courtesy The Brian Merlis Collection.
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