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Brooklyn History: The Eagle’s New Digs


In the beginning, the Brooklyn Eagle’s home was on lower Fulton Street by the ferry landing. Soon after its inception in 1841, it moved its quarters across the street, to approximately where the Eagle Warehouse stands today.

The newspaper’s growth, catapulted by a news-hungry public during the Civil War, necessitated continual expansion of its space. The Eagle purchased bigger, faster and increasingly more sophisticated printing presses, and acquired surrounding buildings on Fulton Street to accommodate them. The Eagle carried on this way for approximately 50 years until July of 1892, when it built a towering new office on Johnson and Washington streets, across from where the General Post Office building on Cadman Plaza East is today. Sadly, this grand Eagle building no longer exists. It was demolished in 1955, the same year the original Eagle folded.

Above is a rendering of the Eagle’s editorial offices in its building on Washington and Johnson streets, which the paper moved to in 1892 after a half-century on Fulton Street. In 1893, the year after the Eagle moved into its new home, it published a thick, handsome volume documenting the history of Brooklyn and the Eagle. It was done in commemoration of the building’s completion and the paper’s semi-centennial. All of the images on this page are from that book.

According to the Eagle, its move off of Fulton was not so much for the sake of more space, but actually had more to do with location: “The effect of the [Brooklyn] Bridge on lower Fulton Street had been such as to raise the question whether an office to which thousands of people must go every week for the transaction of business might not better be located nearer the line of travel.” The site was also “within a stone’s throw” of City Hall (Borough Hall), the Municipal Building, the courts and other official headquarters.

Also, the Eagle wrote, that since it had prospered with the city’s growth, it should “do something to add to the beauty of the city” and decided to construct a building “second to none in architectural beauty and appointments.”

The stairways were iron with marble treads and handrails made of bronzed iron. The halls and corridors were “wainscoted with rich-colored marble, and tiled with rich mosaics of foreign marbles, promiscuous in coloring and very rich in effect.”

The Eagle was so pleased with the new building, it even bragged about the bathrooms: “The lavatories are paved with colored champagne marble, a very beautiful and durable material. No common white and perishable marble is used anywhere in the building.”

It was a nine-story structure, not counting the basement. The ground floor was the publication office; the basement was used for mechanical work; the fifth and sixth floors were the job printing department; the seventh was the editorial floor; and eighth and ninth were newspaper composing rooms. The second, third and fourth floors were offices available for rent.

— Phoebe Neidl

Brooklyn Eagle

March 5, 2012 - 9:37am


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