Photo of the Week: Old Woodpoint Road

Where the Old Woodpoint Boulevard stops, ca. 1905, V1981.15.115; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, V1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Where the Old Woodpoint Boulevard stops, ca. 1905, V1981.15.115; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides, V1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.

This photograph depicts the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn around 1905.  The photographer titled it “Where the Old Woodpoint Boulevard stops.” But in researching more, I realize it is actually Woodpoint Road!  The photographer, Dr. Ralph Irving Lloyd, mistakenly labeled it Boulevard, but in fact it has been referred to as “Old Woodpoint Road” or simply Woodpoint Road in several places (including Forgotten NY) going back to the 19th century.  Woodpoint was one of the earliest roads in the area of Bushwick, dating back to the 1630s. Back then, the road was much longer and used to zigzag its way through Greenpoint and Williamsburg until Neziah Bliss developed the area. In Bliss’s 1876  obituary he is given credit for furthering Brooklyn’s growth and development and was especially praised for making Greenpoint a destination by connecting the streets of Greenpoint to Williamsburg.  Old Woodpoint Road was also mentioned in the early Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper more than a few times. One article on paving Woodpoint Road, describes the road as “ancient” in 1894!  Today, Woodpoint Road is just a four-block strip between Frost Street and Maspeth Avenue.

According to the Encyclopedia of New York City by Kenneth T. Jackson, the neighborhood of Bushwick was first secured from the local Lenape people, when the Dutch West India Company secured a deed from them in 1638. Peter Stuyvesant then chartered the area in 1661, naming it “Boswijck,” meaning “little town in the woods” or Heavy Woods” in 17th century Dutch. This chartered area included the modern day Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, the three neighborhoods that Woodpoint Road use to go through.

Interested in seeing more photographs 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 Othmer Library Wed-Fri 1:00-5:00 p.m.

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