In 1802, Richard Woodhull, spurred by the idea of creating a residential suburb of Manhattan, began a ferry service from present-day Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn to Corlear’s Hook on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Woodhull purchased 13 acres of land surrounding the ferry landing with a plan to build homes and, in 1810, named the area ‘Williamsburgh’ after Colonel Jonathan Williams (1750-1815), the original surveyor of the site.
In 1806 Woodhull went bankrupt, but the idea of Williamsburgh persisted; Noah Waterbury built the neighborhood’s first distillery in 1819, and David Dunham, called the “Father of Williamsburgh,” began operating a steam ferry in 1818
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