History

History

The former Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery is located in the southeast corner of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Established on the shores of Wallabout Bay, the Navy Yard served as America’s premier Naval shipbuilding facility from 1801 until 1966. Today the 300-acre industrial park is owned by the City of New York and managed by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC).

In 1824, the Navy purchased nearby land to build the Brooklyn Naval Hospital, which included the cemetery site. Opened in 1838, the Hospital became a leading center of medical innovation, developing new techniques in anesthetics, wound care, and physical therapy. The hospital closed in 1948, but the property remained in use as a Naval receiving station until 1990.

The Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery was active from 1831 to 1910 and was the burial site for more than 2,000 people, most of them officers and enlisted men of the US Navy and Marine Corps. Among those buried were two Congressional Medal of Honor winners, a Fijian Chief and individuals from more than 20 different countries. It is estimated that roughly 10% of all the servicemembers buried at the site were of African descent.

In 1926, the Navy relocated individuals buried in the cemetery to Cypress Hills National Cemetery. In the 1990’s, extensive archival and archaeological investigations of the site concluded that the remains of 987 individuals were recorded as being relocated, leaving hundreds of burials unaccounted for and potentially still at the site.

The Naval Cemetery Landscape is a project of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative to create a publicly-accessible green space which will revitalize the native plant and pollinator populations in the region and Its design includes a raised walkway to allow visitors to enter the space without disturbing the hallowed ground.

Learn more about the history and present development of this site and of the Brooklyn Navy Yard at BLDG 92, located at the corner of Flushing Avenue and Carlton Avenue.