For those who appreciate solidly built brick buildings — your webmaster raises his hand — DUMBO is a mecca. I wish the area still put thousands to work as in the good old days; it is now home to artists, trust funders, richies and other Eloi. However, the classic brick buildings have been spiffed up and given a 21st Century shine.

Take the Hanan shoe factory, Bridge and Front Streets. The Hanan Company was among the first to stamp the firm’s name on every shoe, a daring idea at a time when most people still sought shoes handmade by the dealer.  The firm was successful and in 1888 Hanan began opening retail stores to sell the factory’s product directly to consumers.

This factory was built in 1893. By 1913 the company employed 1,131 people in its Brooklyn factory (871 men,210 women, and 50 office workers).  John Hanan also owned shoe companies in other cities and served as president of the National Boot and Shoe Manufacturers’ Association.

Hanan went bankrupt in 1935 and the building was used by other manufacturers until its recent conversion to residential.


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2 Responses to DUMBO BRICKS

  1. Clark Castle says:

    Kevin, I for one champion your quest to shine a light on these gems of a forgotten age. When I reported to USS Thorn at Coastal Dry Dock ( the old Brooklyn Navy Yard) in 1985 this area was a wasteland. I had no idea of the area’s history. It is thanks to you that I have developed a feel for the history of what was here in the past.

  2. Mark Eckert says:

    I thought I was the only one who referred to those perpetually smiling, tranquil types as “Eloi”. Nice going!

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