Domino Sugar Refinery Buildings
For 148 years, ships delivered sugar cane from as far away as India to the Domino Sugar plant (originally American Sugar Refining Company) on the East River. In the massive factory buildings workers processed the cane into granulated sugar and packaged it for distribution. The Brooklyn plant was one of the largest refineries in the world, and by 1870 more than half of the sugar consumed in the entire country was refined here.
The site was originally acquired by the Havemeyer family in 1856, with the waterfront location being chosen to facilitate the shipping of massive quantities of raw and refined sugar. After a fire in 1882, the refinery was completely rebuilt with brick and stone buildings at least 10 stories high. Despite some alterations over time, the rounded-arch style buildings, a distinctive smokestack and an iconic lighted sign still remain.
Thousands of Brooklynites worked there and many settled in nearby Williamsburg and Greenpoint, shaping the character of those neighborhoods. It was a terrible blow to Brooklyn in 2004 when sugar processing ceased. While Domino is gone, they left behind beautiful red brick buildings with round arched windows and the famed “Domino Sugar” sign.
Left: Jack Jeffries
Right: Pete Jeliffe