Historical Map Reveals Location of Brooklyn’s Native American Burial Ground

11/02/2011 8:58 AM |

Detail of Indian villages, paths, ponds, and places in Kings County. C.W. Nenning. 1946. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.
  • Detail of “Indian villages, paths, ponds, and places in Kings County.” 1946. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

The Brooklyn Historical Society has lots of cool old maps, the latest of which it posted yesterday. It’s Brooklyn Borough Historian (1944-71) James A. Kelly’s 1946 “Indian villages, paths, ponds, and places in Kings County” map, and in addition to known Native American settlements in the borough and the routes connecting them, it also situates a major burial ground smack in the middle of brownstone Brooklyn.

C.W. Nennings includes a Native American burial ground in Boerum Hill. (Courtesy Brooklyn Historical Society)
  • James A. Kelly includes a Native American burial ground in Boerum Hill. (Courtesy Brooklyn Historical Society)

That’s right, somewhere between the northern tip of the Gowanus Canal and Atlantic Avenue, and between Fourth Avenue and Smith Street, there’s a Native American burial ground. A note to Boerum Hill residents: don’t bury your dead pets (or deceased loved ones) in your backyard, you never know what might happen.

Check out the map in full detail here.

2 Comment

  • if i am reading right, i lived near the top of this map when newly teaching in ny in the mid 90s.
    an even earlier comment from an artista/art teacher about the colors I was
    using in my fiberart having regional Indigenous resonance–this in Kansas–
    (along with more obvious, though often marginalized, realities through the years),
    has continued to make me think about the breadth and depth of influence the people who passed through before
    have had on a place; on Dia de los Muertos, it seems especially salient
    to consider such subtle but sometimes strong connections…..

  • Thank you.