Park Slope

From 19th century cistern to seating area in Prospect Park

June 20, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Prospect Park. AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz

Last year’s restoration and renovation of the 19th century Wellhouse in Prospect Park has turned up another relic of history, which is now also on display. When workers restored the Wellhouse, which was once part of the water system that fed Prospect Park Lake, they uncovered sections of a curving brick wall that was once part of a massive cistern, according to Brownstoner.

The cistern, or tank for storing water, was originally considered an engineering marvel, and the entire water system was given a write-up in the 1872 edition of “The Engineer.” However, in the early 20th century, the park was connected to the city water system, and the originally water system fell into disarray. Since April, the surviving part of the cistern wall was transformed into a seating area, Brownstoner reported. Prospect Park senior architect Alden Maddy commented, “What I would really love to find that we’ve never uncovered is a photograph of the inside of the cistern.” He added that he will buy a six-pack of beer to anyone who can find such a photo.

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