HEINZ FACTORY, Prospect Heights

I took a couple of walks through Prospect Heights in mid-2017 and will expand on them in upcoming FNY pages, but I am always drawn like flies on sherbet to the ancient brick Heinz food processing factory on Bergen Street right next to the Franklin Shuttle elevated section.

The factory, on which the company slogan “57 Varieties” is clearly still in view, was built in the late 1800s as part of a large brewery complex that extended to Franklin Avenue and around the corner to Dean Street. After Heinz decamped its building became the Monti Moving & Storage Co., which in turn moved out in 2001. The buildings are used by artists and light manufacturers these days, with the ice house on Dean has been converted to residential.

In the colonial era, this was a Hessian Camp, German mercenaries allied with the British. By 1849, even before much of the street grid had appeared, the Liberger and Walter Brewing company was brewing here, between 1866 and 1883 it was the Bedford Brewery run by Christian Goetz. In 1883, William Brown purchased the brewery, renaming it the Budweiser Brewing Company. After a suit by Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Brown changed the name to the Nassau Brewing Co. in 1902, and it continued brewing until 1914. Heinz then purchased the westernmost building and turned it into a factory.

The Franklin Shuttle  connects the IND Fulton Street Line with the Brighton Line at Prospect Park, and is all that remains of the northern end of the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railroad. In the 1970s and 1980s the city had no money for the line’s upkeep, and it deteriorated to the point of collapse, but in the late 1990s the MTA found some money in the kitty and completely rebuilt the shuttle, closing the Dean Street station but adding a transfer to the IRT at Eastern Parkway.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”


3 Responses to HEINZ FACTORY, Prospect Heights

  1. Larry says:

    We used to take the Franklin Shuttle to get to the A train for the quickest way to the Uptown bus depot for the George Washington Bridge buses to Jersey……adding that free connection to the IRT at Eastern Parkway in recent years was NICE……

  2. Nikki says:

    OMG “Block Tickets” for the transfer to the shuttle! I lived in the neighborhood and went to school down the street (Shout-out to PS3!!) in the 80’s. We took the subway for all of our class trips. The shuttle was nearly dilapidated. There were patches all over the stairs and platform, which were still made of wood BTW. Only one side of the station was open. The other looked sad and forlorn like it had never been used! It’s grey rotted wood sagged like it was ready to collapse onto Fulton St.

  3. Nunzio says:

    I remember exploring the Franklin Shuttle in the very early 80’s….. It was AMAZING that they actually kept the Park Place station in use then! The platform was all patched up with sheets of plywood; and there were soft spots, which if you stepped on, your foot was close to going through. When the train would come, the whole platform would wave up and down! It was wild! I couldn’t even imagine using it at night.

    The city would have persecuted (and prosecuted!) any business or home-owner who dared to allow such a decrepit structure to not only exist, but to actually be used! But because it was city-owned, of course….no problemo. It’s amazing that no one was killed there.

    What a sight to see and experience though. Things like that made the subways interesting back then- as opposed to the boring, homogenized “safe space” they’ve become today. (The old Republic station on the LIRR Ronkonkoma branch was another one, too- on a steep embankment, with a decayed, decrepit flimsy wood railing being all that separated you from death!)

    Damn! I miss those days!

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