Snapshots of Brooklyn’s Rural Past at Brooklyn Historical Society

Houston Street Ferry Terminal in Williamsburg in 1922. Image by Eugene L. Armbruster via brooklynhistory

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    Brooklyn is a major urban center now, but it wasn’t always that way. This September, you’ll be able to learn about the unobstructed views, fields and farms that once typified the borough and the man who documented them with Tales from the Vault: Agricultural Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

    brooklyn history photos eugene armbruster brooklyn historical society

    ‘Map of landholders near East River’ by Armbruster. Image via Brooklyn Historical Society

    Eugene L. Armbruster, an amateur historian and photographer working in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, captured thousands of scenes of this very different Brooklyn. Born in Germany, Armbruster arrived in the U.S. in 1882 and settled in Bushwick where he lived until his death in 1943. Fascinated by early Brooklyn history, he created numerous scrapbooks, including his photographs as well as clippings, maps and drawings.

    brooklyn history photos eugene armbruster brooklyn historical society

    Cover of one of Armbruster’s scrapbooks, “Bushwick and her neighbors, Volume 1.” Photo via Brooklyn Historical Society

    Seven of his scrapbooks in the collection of BHS are being digitized and staffers Tess Colwell and Regina Carra will be discussing Armbruster’s work and sharing rural Brooklyn scenes from the collection.

    This event will take place Monday, September 11 at BHS at 128 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for general admission and free for BHS Members. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

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