Wallabout Creek seems to actually be the name of two separate watercourses, both of which outletted into Wallabout Bay, in the Navy Yard in Brooklyn. They can both be seen in the 1766 map shown here-- below and just to the right and to the left of the words "Wallabout Bay." At least the western branch (on the left) was used to supply power to mills, and though it's hard at this scale you can just make out the words "Mill Dam" to the left of "Wallabout Bay." I don't know if the eastern branch was also dammed and used for power. Today, the western branch has disappeared as far as I know, but the eastern branch at least left its mark on the city: there is a Wallabout Street which follows the approximate course of the old stream, and underneath Wallabout Street is a 19th-century circular brick sewer, sixteen feet in diameter at its largest points.
so i've been wondering about the path of the engineered watercourse that allegedly runs beneath Brooklyn carrying water from the East River to the Gowanus Canal. Common knowledge about the "Flushing Tunnel" is that its purpose is to flush out the stagnant water at the top of gowanus canal, the remnant of a pre-red hook tidal wetlands. I've heard that the tunnel and pump has been revived in the past 10 years or so, with some work done by Hydroqual. Its path under BK is not self-evident - I'd like to find out where the inlet is from the East River, and the course it takes.....
The Flushing Tunnel flushes water between New York Harbor and the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, to help reduce stagnation in the heavily polluted canal. It was created in 1911 using a steam-driven propeller to drive the water; it broke in the 1960s, and was repaired finally in 1999. The city offers a press release from 1999 telling about the canal: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/99-28pr.shtml
Below is a very basic map of the tunnel, taken from gothamist, which in turn apparently got it from the DEP:
Bull Creek was a small, tide-affected creek on the southern shore of Brooklyn in the Canarsie/East New York area, most notable for its utility to tide mills in the 18th and 19th centuries (and possibly 17th century?) Tide mills were water mills that used tide action to fill their reservoirs or mill ponds, and then when the tide went out the water drained and powered the water wheel. They could run for about 6 hours two times a day, from mid-tide as the tide was going out until mid-tide of the incoming tide (when the water was any higher, usually, the inertia of the water was too great to turn the wheel, and the differential between the stored high-tide water and the outside water was probably too little anyway.)
The area is near Spring Creek Park, and just east of the end of Flatlands Avenue. In the 18th century a tide-mill built by Van Brunt was located about a little inland along the stream, which was called Bull Creek. About 1810 the mill was taken apart and moved a half-mile south, under the ownership of Jacob Lott Van Wicklen. The creek became known as "Old Mill Creek," presumably because of the 18th-century mill, which was an old mill despite its new location; this mill was in operation at least until 1855.
Description of the Old Mill at the foot of Crescent Street, Brooklyn
This community consisted of the Mill itself, a two and one half story frame hotel with cupola, a few boat houses on each side of
the creek; I wouldn't say more than six to eight on each side.
The Old Mill [Creek] ran north and south. At the south end it widened to form a landing. The bank of the creek at the landing was
protected by a timber bulkhead which ran about 150 feet southward from the southwest corner of the mill and then broke at
right angles westward for another 100 feet and then again at right angles southward to the beginning of the row of boat houses
on the west bank.
The Mill itself was a tide mill facing south, a two story frame building with a platform on the west side and double doors
opening from the mill building upon a platform and another door in the second story with a loading beam above it. The
platform was used for receiving the grain from the farm wagons and shipping the four and bran. The undershot wheel was on
the east side of the flood gates opening. As I understand, the mill pond was more or less artificial and was an offshoot of
Spring Creek to the east. The water for the mill was held back by two flood gates, one at the east end of the mill and the other
down about 800 feet south of the mill across the original Spring Creek. The straight north and south creek to the Old Mill was
a dugout. Just south of the mill and flood gate at that point was the basin where the larger boats were anchored. This basin was
roughly 200 to 300 feet square.
When I first remember, there were not more than a half dozen of the larger sloops anchored there. One of them was the
Cornelia, owned first by Dave Van Wicklen and later by Andrus Forbell. At one time Dick Van Wicklen's schooner, Scud, was
anchored there. Sand boats and manure boats came up the creek from time to time.
The Fresh Creek was an inlet on the south shore of Brooklyn from Jamaica Bay. Today there is still an inlet called "Fresh Creek," but it seems that the creek used to flow much further inland.
Question for readers: was this purely a tidal inlet and drainage route, or was there a real creek from a source further inland?
A local landmark was the Vanderveer Mill, also known as the Red Mill because it was painted barn-red. This was a tide mill built either in the late 1600s or sometime around 1770; I haven't yet been able to deterimine when exactly it first started operating. (It may have been that an earlier mill operated in the late 17th century, and was replaced by the better-known Red Mill around 1770). It lasted until 1879 which it burned down (According to Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges, and More Got Their Names, By Leonard Benardo & Jennifer Weiss; NYU Press, 2006). It was built by Cornelius Van Der Veer (or Van Der Veer), or possibly his descendents. He and his descendents also owned a massive farm covering much of today's Flatbush and Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Cornelius Janszen Van Der Veer b. 1622 or ~1642 d. bef 22 Feb 1703 aka Cornelius de Seeuw, Cornelius de Zeeuw, Cornelius Dominicus
He is believed to have departed Amsterdam and arrived in America on Feb 17, 1659 on the ship De Otter , taking up residence in Midwout, what is now Flatbush, NY.
On 13 Jun 1661 Cornelius was one of six persons who petitioned Gov Stuyvesant for a patent of land, who authorized a survey.
In Feb 1678 he purchased a farm in Flatbush for about 2600 guilders.
In 1683 The Assement Roll of Midwout lists him as having 100 acres.
This land became known as the 26th and 32nd ward of Brooklyn and was owned by his descendents until 1906.
The Vanderveer Park addition was the last remaining section of the original property and is located near Brooklyn College.
He and his son-in-law Daniel Polhemus, erected a grist mill on Fresh
Kill in Flatbush, later known as Vanderveer Mills, which came into the
hands of his son Dominicus, and later his grandson Cornelius.
He died in Feb, 1703 in Flatbush, NY.
(image from NYPL-- their photo/image archive also has more; if you find links to other images please post in comments.)