With all the attention the Domino Sugar factory has been getting in recent months, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the Havemeyer family that built the waterfront facility in Williamsburg and has a street named after them in the neighborhood. Here’s what the book Brooklyn By Name (NYU Press, 2006) has to say about them:
Brothers Frederick C. Havemeyer (1774-1841) and William Havemeyer(1770-1851) were major industrialists who made their money in sugar processing. Arriving from Germany at the turn of the nineteenth century, they soon built a sugar refinery on Vandam Street in Manhattan. William’s son, William F. (1804-1874), took over the family business in the 1830s but ventured into politics and became a three-term New York mayor. Cousin Frederick C. Havemeyer Jr. (1807-1891) stayed in the sugar trade and in 1857 established the longstanding South 3rd Street factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. His son, Henry Havemeyer (1847-1907), named the company Domino’s Sugar in the early 1900s and worked to corner the market. His Sugar Refineries Company, or “Sugar Trust,” functioned like Standard Oil–monopolistically (and like Standard Oil did battle with the government over makret control). An era ended in 2004 when Domino’s Sugar terminated its refining operations and the East River plant (and classic signage) bearing its name. The company is now a part of the British concern Tate & Lyle.
It would be interesting to know where the Havemeyer clan lived during all this. Manhattan or Brooklyn?
Photo by Susan Stars