Past and Present: The Penny Bridge

1905 Postcard

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    A Look at Brooklyn, then and now.

    Before Robert Moses created the Promenade, that great cantilevered compromise between preservation and progress, Montague Street used to stretch past Pierrepont Place, all the way down to Furman Street and the piers. Brooklyn Heights has always stood high on a steep bluff above the shoreline, the topography is one of the reasons the land was picked for settlement in the first place. As business at the piers increased, the ability to get from the shore to the Heights without scaling steep hills necessitated the excavation of a level roadway for carriages, wagons, and later trolleys and buses. An iron bridge over an arched tunnel enabled pedestrians and vehicles to pass above.

    By the 1850’s, there are drawings of bridge and the roadway beneath. The bridge was called the Penny Bridge, for the toll that was once charged for crossing. The extension of Montague Street began at the intersection of Montague Terrace and Pierrepont Place, and the bridge was located where the children’s park stands now, near the flag and memorial. The road, the bridge and tunnel were all destroyed for the Promenade (officially called the Esplanade) in 1946.

    This postcard dates from around 1905. You can see the greenhouse belonging to the Low family, whose house is on the hill directly above, on the left, and the tower of Montrose Morris’ Arlington Apartments peeking up behind the bridge, on the right. GMAP

    1905 Postcard

    Photo: selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot

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