Historic holdover: Watering hole found in B’Hill ground may date to Revolution

Historic holdover: Watering hole found in B’Hill ground may date to Revolution
Phil Morgan

Call it well preserved!

Construction crews uncovered a well beneath the ground in Boerum Hill that may be a leftover from a Revolutionary-War fort, a find that one neighbor said is remarkable for its discovery and origin.

“This is very unusual, it’s revolutionary in more ways that one,” said Boerum Hill resident Bill Harris, who received word of the well from workers digging on the corner of Pacific and Bond streets.

Crews from the city’s Department of Design and Construction were preparing the area for the installation of a new pedestrian ramp last week when they unearthed the cistern, according to Harris, who said it is lined with stone and believed to be four-stories deep — the same height as the block’s brownstones.

Workers discovered the well in the same place that Continental-Army troops erected Fort Box — on Pacific Street near Bond Street — in an attempt to fend off the invading British during the Revolution. But the Redcoats took the area during the Battle of Brooklyn, capturing and then destroying the defense, but evidently sparing its drinking source, which remains in good enough shape that passersby can still see water at the bottom of it today.

Now that crews unearthed the relic, the city will bring in an expert to get to the bottom of the well’s history, according to a design-and-construction agency spokeswoman, who said the area was closed off to protect the centuries-old infrastructure.

“We are in the process of securing an archaeologist to further investigate the well’s origins,” said Crystal Santos. “In the meantime, the site has been secured and we instructed the contractor not to disturb the site.”

And Harris said he’s currently brainstorming with neighbors about how to inform passing pedestrians of the discovery and what they can do to safeguard it. The group has considered a steel plate and clear material as possible protectors, and hopes some of the structure will end up in a museum one day, according to the local, who said there is no clear solution at the moment.

“It’s all very, very up in the air right now,” he said.

If experts determine the well is in fact from the Revolution, it would be the latest relic from that era to be discovered recently in the area. In August, workers found a cannonball in the backyard of a Brooklyn Heights home that was likely uncovered during an excavation of the lot, and historians claimed dates to the Revolutionary War.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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