Here’s What Gowanus Looked Like When It Was Occupied by a Massive Pond


Along the banks of the Gowanus Canal, where today sits Whole Foods Market and the notorious neighborhood abandonment the Batcave, there once was the above-pictured mill pond, a far cry from the area’s current urban state.

Known as both Denton’s Mill and Yellow Mill, the Colonial-era mill pond — referring to the pool-like bodies of water used to power water mills — was built in 1709 through the damming of a branch of what was then referred to as the “Gowanus Kil.”

Gowanus Canal

A little research at the Brooklyn Historical Society recovered this beautiful picture of Denton’s Mill Pond.

In addition to the mill pond, the property also included a dwelling-house (it burned down in 1852), according to Henry Whitmore’s 1833 account of the Battle of Brooklyn, The Heroes of the American Revolution and Their Descendants.

Denton’s Mill ended on what is present-day 5th Street, extending close to the Old Stone House, according to old maps. Today, the area has been filled in, and is the location of not only the Batcave but also several storage facilities and truck depots.

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