Dead Horse Bay <Video
Commented by CartLegger: 3rd Aug 2007-Barren Island, which appears on few modern maps, holds a special place in the city’s garbage history. In the late 1850s, the first of many factories opened on this previously uninhabited island and began turning menhaden, an oily herring-like fish caught in local waters, into fertilizer.
Scheming city politicians soon arranged to send household garbage this way, too.
<Image from Max Liboiron: Loading a Scow with Refuse. 1897
In the busy season, laborers unloaded seven or eight scows — large, flat-bottomed boats with square ends — a day, a total of 3,000 tons of refuse from Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, in addition to the daily horse boat, which held as many as fifty dead horses, plus cows, cats, dogs and pigs.
Image from Max Liboiron: Barren Island Fish Oil Manufacturing 1871>
Workers picked through the garbage for valuables, then boiled or steamed the rest in fifteen-foot-high steel cylinders.
By 1860, writes Benjamin Miller in Fat of the Land, the island had “the largest concentration of offal industries in the world,” producing 50,000 tons of oils, and tens of thousands of tons of grease, fertilizer and other products (bone black, hides, iron and tin) worth more than $10 million a year.
More> Barren Island, Brooklyn