Photo of the Week: Lamp Posts of Brooklyn’s Past

View of east side of 8th Avenue, June 11, 1961, v1974.9.250; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

 Either the photographer (and Long Island Historical Society librarian) John D. Morrell captured an intense game of hide-and-seek or the girls are upset with the knowledge that the days of their grand cast-iron lamp posts are numbered.  According to Forgotten New York, this lamp post is a Type G, popular in both parks and residential streets.  Few remain outside of Stuyvesant Town because it wasn’t until 1997 that the Landmarks Preservation Commission granted landmark status to approximately 60 historic street lamp posts acrossNew York City. Some lamps from the same class as this one were given protection based on their historic value to the design iconography of streets across the five boroughs.

It’s unlikely the girls were remotely aware of the lighting in their hide-and-seek territory being replaced by a less ornate aluminum or  steel lamppost and in some ways this Park Slope corner looks much the same today as it did then.  However subtle modifications—like the disappearance of a decorative lamppost and the smart-looking red fire hydrant—demonstrate gradual changes that can seem like huge and unfortunate ones to us today.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. To search our entire collection of images visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Fri, 1:00-5:00 p.m.

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