Brooklyn Heights History: the Low Family and the China Trade

Will Van Dorp, of Tugster: a Waterblog, has an interesting post about the Heights, focusing on Abiel Abbot Low, who came here from Salem, Massachusetts, owned clipper ships in the China trade, and lived in a large townhouse on Pierrepont Place, next to the Montague Street entrance to the Promenade. The adjoining townhouse to the north, next to what is now the Pierrepont Playground, was the residence of Alexander White, whose fortune came from fur trading.

Tugster: a Waterblog: A. A. Low moved to Brooklyn Heights after spending six years in Canton’s markets dealing with Wu Bingjian aka Howqua. From Brooklyn Heights, Low could observe the goings and comings of his fleet of China clippers over at South Street when it was a seaport in the years between the First and Second Opium Wars.

Low’s son, Seth, named for his grandfather, served as Mayor of Brooklyn, then as President of Columbia College (which moved from midtown Manhattan to Morningside Heights and became Columbia University during his tenure), and then as mayor of New York City following its merger with Brooklyn.

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  • ilikebrooklyn

    Gee I had it wrong. I thought what now is 3 Pierrepont Place was the Low Home. So 2 Pierrepont Place (adjacent to the playground) was the Low home. Interesting.

  • ilikebrooklyn
  • nabeguy

    Forget the china trade, check out the Pierrepont’s gin house at the foot of Joralemon Street.
    http://tinyurl.com/yjedkjf

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    ilikebrooklyn: somehow, while referring to Lancaster’s Old Brooklyn Heights and drafting my post, I got things reversed. Looking again at my source, I see that the Low place was to the south in No. 2 and White to the north in No. 3. I’ve amended the post accordingly, and thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    nabeguy: fascinating; thanks!

  • ilikebrooklyn

    I’m still not sure you have it right…. the house next to the playground is 2 Pierrepont Place. The house at the entrance to the promenade is 3 Pierrepont. I think Low lived at 3 Pierrepont.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    My film about Montague Street had it right. You guys aren’t paying attention to my films. lol

    #2 Pierrepont Place (where White family lived) is to the north next to the playground and 3 is the most southern (see frame from film) and this is where the Low family lived. I took out the excerpt referring to both these residences for your review.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL3qpfhB27M

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    Karl: ilikebrooklyn had it right all the way through. This has been a pure nightmare for me. First, I misread Lancaster when I drafted the original version of the post. Then, after reading ilikebrooklyn’s correction, I amended the top post, but in so doing typed “south” where I meant “north” (I sometimes say I suffer from “directional dyslexia”)–an error which I’ve now corrected–and, to compound my foolishness, in my comment replying to ilikebrooklyn, I reversed the street numbers.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Claude,

    Brilliance has is drawbacks. Of all the people I know, you rate very high as having an abundance of facts at your disposal. You possess and continually add, on a daily basis, to that vast collection. You are incredible.

    I was reading Sherlock Holmes a couple of weeks back and the attached passage comes to mind concerning your mishap with the Pierrepont addresses.

    Not saying I agree with Sherlock’s argument regarding elasticity but it is an interesting concept. lol

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO3AM4wHhM4

  • http://selfabsorbedboomer.blogspot.com Claude Scales

    Hmmm…perhaps I should make it a practice to erase one useless fact from my memory each day. Where to start? How about: Carlos Baerga was the only major league player to homer from both sides of the plate in a single inning?

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Claude,

    No, leave baseball alone. Your expertise in that field (no pun intended) gave us the recent gem about the Philly Fanatic.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Sorry, I meant Philly Phanatic.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Claude,

    Do you remember Mark Bellhorn from the Cubs? If i’m not mistaken, he hit homers from both side of the plate in one game about 6-7 years ago.

    Whenever I think of switch hitters hitting home runs, Mickey Mantle immediately comes to mind. Man, those 60-61 Yankees were incredible.

    1B Moose later Peppy, 2B Richardson, SS Kubek, 3B Boyer, C Howard, OUT LF Berra later Tresh, CF Mantle, RF Maris Benchwarmers Blanchard, Lopez wow, those were the days.

    Talk about useless facts, I even know the numbers on their backs.

  • ilikebrooklyn

    Well we got it right now. : )