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Brooklyn Through the Ages: April

By John B. Manbeck
Special to The Brooklyn Eagle

With April, we see the beginnings of spring and the coming of the borough’s official flower, the forsythia. The name, April, can be tied to Venus, or Aphrodite, and had been called the month of Venus in Estruscan, the pre-Latin language of pre-Italy. But beware of the April fool!

April 1, 1907: Long Island Terminal at Hanson Place and Flatbush Avenue opens.

April 2, 1900: Formal transfer of the Flatbush Free Library to the Brooklyn Public Library.

April 3, 1888: Hotel Brighton moved inland by 12 steam locomotives to save it from erosion.

April 4, 1668: Robert Hollis is granted exclusive privilege of selling hard drink in the Village of Brooklyn.

April 5, 1913: Ebbets Field opens for first home game: Brooklyn Dodgers vs. New York Giants. Dodgers 3; Giants 2.

April 6, 1902: Jan Kubelik, Czech violinist, performs at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

April 7, 1654: The Towns of Breuckelen, Flatbush and Flatlands combine to form a militia to fight the pirates on the rivers.

April 8, 1834: Over objections from City of New York, an act of the state legislature makes Brooklyn an independent city to take effect April 10.

April 9, 1908: Brooklyn-Manhattan Subway Tunnel opens at 12:51 a.m. allowing Independent Rapid Transit trains to operate to Brooklyn Borough Hall.

April 10, 1944: Battleship Missouri launched at Brooklyn Navy Yard; later used to sign Japanese surrender after World War II.

April 11, 1657: Magistrates of Breuckelen declare every Thursday “Market Day.”

April 12, 1816: New York State legislature incorporates Brooklyn as a village.

April 13, 1901: Statue of “Spirit of the American Navy” by Frederick MacMonnies placed on marble arch at Prospect Park Plaza.

April 14, 1827: Williamsburgh incorporated as a village.

April 15, 1775: Representatives of all Kings County towns except Flatlands meet in Flatbush to choose nominating committee to name delegates to Second Continental Congress.

April 16, 1656: Gravesend passes license law that limits sale of liquor to whites and prohibits sale to Indians.

April 17, 1890: Samuel Kimball, aged 16, dies from smoking cigarettes.

April 18, 1838: Green-Wood Cemetery incorporated as a joint stock company.

April 19, 1890: Electric trolley cars begin running to Coney Island.

April 20, 1670: Flatbush re-buys land from Rockaway Indians, already purchased from Canarsee Indians, to avoid dispute.

April 21, 1936: Aviator Howard Hughes lands at Floyd Bennett Field after record breaking Miami-to-New York flight of 4 hours, 21 minutes, 32 seconds.

April 22, 1876: Kings County delegation sent to Democratic convention in St. Louis to support New York’s Governor Samuel Tilden for his race as presidential candidate against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes.

April 23, 1775: News of Battle of Lexington on April 19 reaches Brooklyn.

April 24, 1898: Alleged Spanish spy arrested at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.

April 25, 1916: Prospect Park’s new zoo building, now Wildlife Center, opens.

April 26, 1894: City of Brooklyn annexes Town of Gravesend after “Boss” John McKane is imprisoned.

April 27, 1847: Opening of Washington Park, now Ft. Greene Park, authorized by state legislature.

April 28, 1836: Cornerstone of Brooklyn City Hall, now Borough Hall, laid.

April 29, 1880: Society of Old Brooklynites organized.

April 30, 1944: First contingent of 30 enlisted SPARs—“Semper Paratus, Always Ready”—arrive to relieve Manhattan Beach Coast Guard Station personnel for active sea duty.

© 2005 John B. Manbeck

April 2, 2012 - 10:56am


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