When you are cleaning up, you are bound to find some unexpected treasures. Money under the sofa pillow; the other sock behind a bedroom door; your car keys in the refrigerator. The same principle applies to cleaning up a toxic waste site like the Gowanus Canal, where over 275 items have been discovered, some in surprisingly good condition.
Linda Mariano and John Quadrozzi Jr. have agreed to store those relics until a permanent museum has been created for them.
Among the items found were an electric iron, an antique coffee pot with intact paint, and a giant anchor, all found at the bottom of the canal’s Fourth Street Turning Basin. The most prevalent item found were bricks produced by different companies. Also among the recovered detritus were wagon wheels, iron cleats, and a wooden block bedecked with pulleys.
“The artifacts are important because we have a very important neighborhood,” Mariano said. “One of the most important battles of the revolution was fought in Gowanus. Who knows about this? Practically no one. We have to bring that to the forefront and make it known in the country, and we will probably eventually discover some artifacts related to the revolution of 1776 in the canal or nearby.”
The Brooklyn Historical Society says it will help to archive and research each object. Mariano is expecting many more items of historical importance to be found when the main body of the 1.8-mile Superfund site is dredged up in earnest, beginning in August or September of the coming year.
“It’s wide open for all kinds of findings in the canal,” she added. “We certainly hope we do find more important items related not only to the industrial heritage and history of Gowanus, but to the revolution of 1776. I believe we will.”