The Timber Shed Returns to Admiral’s Row

Photo by Susan De Vries

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    It’s been years since the early 19th century Timber Shed has graced Admiral’s Row, but the historic storehouse is finally back, a visit Monday revealed.

    One of two historic structures to be saved during the redevelopment of the six-acre site at Flushing Avenue and Navy Street, it was disassembled and moved off site into storage sometime in 2015 or 2016. The newly reconstructed building has sprung up since our last visit to the site, in August.

    A rare survivor from the pre-Civil War era of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Timber Shed was originally designed to accommodate the long timbers needed for shipbuilding, with the long open space ideal for storing timbers as they cured. While earlier research, and the National Register nomination report, dated the building to circa 1841, research prepared in 2015 for the project by preservation consultant Gregory Dietrich suggests a circa 1853 date.

    timber shed

    The Timber Shed circa 2015 in a photo for a Historic American Building Survey of the property. Photo via New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

    Known as Building 16, it was used for storage until the 1960s. A portion of its length was removed at that time and later it was used as an ice skating rink and garage. Abandoned, the building deteriorated for decades while the future of Admiral’s Row was debated. By 2015, the storehouse was a roofless shell. After it was dismantled and put into storage, it was unseen for years as plans for redevelopment of Admiral’s Row took some twists and turns.

    navy yard timber frame

    S9 Architecture are behind the design of the new construction on site and are also the project architects for the restoration of the Timber Shed. On their website they refer to the storehouse project as a “meticulous reconstruction” using original historic materials. There is still some work to be done on the roof and on the interior, where the floor is still dirt.

    The other historic structure to be included in the redeveloped site, Quarters B, constructed in 1872, is currently under wraps, literally. The historic structure has been obscured and protected with a covering while new buildings rise around it. These include the new Wegmans, set to open this fall.

    The historic buildings will eventually house “house retail and community facilities,” according to S9.

    brooklyn navy yard

    navy yard timber frame

    navy yard timber frame

    navy yard timber frame

    [Photos by Susan De Vries unless otherwise noted]

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