Before Greenpoint became a mecca for Polish and Eastern European culture and community, it was mostly….farmland. And on February 10, 1936, the neighborhood mourned the loss of a beloved figure and Greenpoint’s oldest resident, Mary Logan.
Affectionately dubbed “Grandma Logan” around town, the Ireland-born Mary moved into Greenpoint in 1859. At the time, it was primarily a farming town with very little of the concrete jungle aspects that have become synonymous with city living today. In a 1927 article also from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Logan admitted she had only left Greenpoint three times so far within her 68-year tenure — she was 93 years old at the time. She spent the majority of her nearly 80 years in the neighborhood on only three city blocks.
In a former interview, Logan reflected on the state of the neighborhood at the time, which would be unrecognizable to North Brooklynites today.
“There was not a pavement and hardly a well; we had to go to India St. for a pail of water. Greenpoint was a funny place then. There was a beautiful orchard between Norman and Nassau Streets on Newell St., and many beautiful gardens,” Logan recalled.
Logan, who was considered Greenpoint’s oldest resident at the time of her death on February 8, 1936, was such a community mainstay that her 100th birthday was celebrated with a block party and personalized letter from then-president Franklin Roosevelt.
Despite her passing, Greenpoint’s Grandma left a strong legacy in the form of two children, six grandchildren, four great-grandchildern, and a great-great-grandson, George S. Merckling. And that was only the list in 1936; records show that Merckling died in 2005, so it’s likely that Logan’s family tree remains rooted in North Brooklyn to this day.