After the city Department of Transportation knocked down two historic stanchions — the brick columns that were built not long after the turn of the 20th century — at Foster Avenue and Westminster Road in June, the agency admitted they’d made a mistake and promised to rebuild them.
In recent days, the city has made good on their vow and has begun to replace the structures, which a DOT representative told neighbors at a meeting in June were bulldozed after they received numerous complaints about graffiti and trash, as well as a few requests to remove them.
Complaints were also reportedly made to Council Member Jumaane William’s office, and Community Board 14 confirmed there had been issues with trash at the corner of Foster and Westminster.
Regardless of these complaints, many others in the community were outraged over the DOT knocking down the decades-old markers, and the DOT admitted they should have sat down with neighbors before acting.
“Was it an error that we removed them without notification to the Community Board?” Claudette Working said at the June meeting. “Absolutely.”
The stanchions were erected in 1909, apparently out of neighbors’ concern about encroaching development.
According to an article published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1910, community residents voiced numerous concerns over apartment houses being built in the area, including at the corner of Foster Avenue and E. 17th Street, where “a block of stores with apartment houses were also put up.”
“This decided the people just to the south that a line of demarcation should be made along Foster Avenue as a sort of notice to everybody that ‘thus far and no farther’ could apartments be built,” the article said.
After that, residents raised about $2,000 to build the structures.