A Weekly Column of Trivia and Observations By David Ansel Weiss
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Did you know that Spike Lee’s real name is Shelton Jackson Lee?
Until World War I many of Brooklyn’s elite private clubs refused membership to Catholics and “Hebrews.”
There’s a gravesite in Green-Wood Cemetery that never fails to sadden those who visit it. It contains the graves of two brothers who fought in the Civil War, one on the Union side, the other on the Confederate side. They both died in the same battle.
Many of the 650 plants in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s rose garden that were originally planted there in 1927 are still thriving.
To be allowed to swim in the famous St. George Hotel pool, one had to be at least 4 feet, 4 inches in height.
It may be apocryphal but it is said that Hetty Green — a one-time resident of Brooklyn Heights who at the beginning of the 20th century was the world’s richest woman — developed her financial acumen by reading business newspapers to her father whose eyesight had failed.
Did you know that a cable car line once ran down Montague Street? It started at Brooklyn’s City Hall (later Borough Hall) and ended at the East River, where there was ferry service to Wall Street. It opening on July 20, 1891, and went electric in 1909.
If anyone asks you how many major elevated railroad lines there were in Brooklyn in the 19th century, you can tell them there were six — the Broadway line, the Lexington line, the Myrtle Avenue line, the Fulton Street line, the Third Avenue line and the Fifth Avenue line.
If you look at the bronze door entrance of the Central Public Library at Eastern Parkway and Flatbush Avenue you will see that its architectural configuration resembles that of an open book.
When we talk about famous people who served at one time or another at Fort Hamilton, always mentioned are Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who before the Civil War served there as U.S. Army officers. Seldom mentioned is that one of the fort’s commandants in the late 19th century was famous in another field. He was General Abner Doubleday who was for a long time considered (inaccurately, as he himself often admitted) the man who invented the design of the modern baseball field.
Maryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton for whom Carroll Gardens is named is distinguished in two ways from the other signers of the Declaration of Independence: 1) He was the only Catholic who signed it, and 2) He was the only one who in addition to assigning his name, included an address.