Historic anchor, loved by many, seeks new Heights home
A ceremonial departure for the historic ship’s anchor that sat for decades in front of 76 Montague St. will take place soon. Friend Of A Farmer, the new tenant in that building, will offer refreshments as a show of good will to new neighbors and customers in Brooklyn Heights.
The anchor was placed on the site in 1981 when Heights resident Wolf Spille bought the building and placed his ship brokerage firm at that address. Spille wanted to pay tribute to the rich maritime heritage of Brooklyn Heights, where many ship owners and captains lived in the 19th century, including Abiel Abbot Low, prominent in the China trade, and Capt. Waring, for time a privateer during the War of 1812.
This tradition continued into the 20th century, with Spille and with Hans Isbrandtsen, owner of one of the largest cargo liner fleets in the U.S. Merchant Marine, living on Remsen Street. Spille purchased the anchor from a shipyard, verified its authenticity and placed it in front of his building. The anchor is of a type used on large sailing ships in the early part of the 19th century. Spille chose it because it was of about the same age as his building, and may have been used on a ship that visited the docks below the Heights.
Later, when Spille sold the building, the deed transfer carried a provision that the anchor remain in place. Spille, who retired to North Carolina, discovered years later that a subsequent sale of the property did not carry the same provision.