The Forgotten History of the Brooklyn Army Terminal

Ryan Socash of It’s History dives into the intriguing, yet seemingly forgotten history of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, a historic warehouse complex in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that was built in 1919 and used as a supply warehouse for the US Army. The Terminal later was used by the Merchant Marines and Prohibition Agents. It also became the point of departure for over three million soldiers during wartime.

On the shores of Brooklyn is a massive rundown Army terminal, and although it’s now basically just another example of forgotten American infrastructure this mysterious building was once the pinnacle of American safety….this is the Old Brooklyn Army terminal a massive industrial complex where American Military supplies and men would be readied and stored before crossing the Atlantic.

The Terminal also had its own railway line, a lab for testing confiscated alcohol and an incinerator to destroy said alcohol (the 1920s), limited housing for transient service members (1928), and a military prison (1930).

The Brooklyn Army Terminal also played a big role in ration distribution, repatriation of dead soldiers, and assisted shipwrecked passengers of doomed cruises. Elvis Presley was one of many soldiers shipped out from the Terminal in 1958.

The port would continue to ship off a further 200 000 soldiers through the Cold War while repatriating hundreds of thousands of America’s dead the facility also assisted in treating and returning the Shipwrecked passengers of the Andrea Doria as well as the Stockholm there was also an incident where the center processed refugees from the Hungarian revolution in its last year full military operations it shipped off the U.S third Armored Division with the one and only Elvis Presley among them.

The military base closed in 1967 and the Brooklyn Army Terminal was sold to New York City for miscellaneous use.

The defense department and the City of New York did make preparations for the eventual closing of the facility although they were initially painful it wasn’t permanent. the terminal was being prepared to get sold off to the city and other private hands …The beginning of the 21st century expanded the space for commercial and Industrial use by yet another 350,000 feet of space to retail and industrial areas while renovating tens of thousands of feet of leased areas these simple but expansive modernizations have kept the terminal in use by businesses across new York City.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.