New plaque draws attention to Revolutionary-era well in Boerum Hill

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Howard Kolins of the Boerum Hill Association and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon unveiled a plaque near the site of an 18th Century well in Boerum Hill.
Photo by Ben Verde

Pedestrians walking through Boerum Hill will now see a newly installed plaque that memorializes an 18th century well that was originally constructed as part of a Revolutionary-War fort. 

The plaque, at the corner of Bond and Pacific Streets, commemorates the historic infrastructure that was discovered underneath the street’s concrete during a construction project in 2017, before being covered up again. 

Now, the local assemblymember is hailing the addition of the celebratory signage, while also pushing city construction honchos to adorn the site in plexiglass for all the world to see. 

“Ideally what we would like is for the city to open it up and encase it in a very sturdy, thick plexiglass, like they do at other historic sites, so you could see what’s beneath it,” said Boerum Hill Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon at an unveiling ceremony for the plaque on April 9. “We think that would be a great way to not only memorialize this but to show people something that is highly unusual, right here in Boerum Hill.”

Assemblymember Simon gestures towards the location of the well. Photo by Ben Verde

Along with the plaque, photos of the well have been pasted to the corner building, to give a visual reference to the historic site that so few in the neighborhood know about.

The well was uncovered by a crew from the city’s Department of Design and Construction who were working to install a new pedestrian ramp at the corner in 2017 when they discovered the ancient watering hole, which still had water at the bottom of it.

Well, well, well: the well in 2017. Water can be seen at the bottom Phil Morgan

The well is believed to have been connected to Fort Box, one of the Continental Army’s lines of defense against the British during the Revolutionary War, which was captured by the British during the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn and subsequently destroyed — but the well remained intact. 

The area was host to numerous other forts throughout the years and the wars that followed, including Fort Fireman, which New York City Mayor DeWitt Clinton encouraged volunteer laborers to construct during the War of 1812 along what is now Pacific, Bond and Nevins Streets, and Atlantic Avenue. 

“Here we are once again, defending Brooklyn in our own little way by keeping the memory alive,” said Howard Kolins of the Boerum Hill Association.