Domino Sugar: A Slice of History
Working through the dead of winter on a critical path schedule, R. Baker & Son was recently tasked with the relocation of two 60 year-old electric powered gantry cranes on the site of a massive redevelopment project now underway at the Domino Sugar Refinery complex on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn waterfront.
The plan to build 3.3 million square feet of residential, office, retail and open space will include preservation of the landmark 1884 central refinery building, the iconic Domino Sugar sign, the two gantry cranes, and other industrial artifacts.
History of Domino
Domino Sugar originally was established in 1816 in Manhattan as the Havemeyer Corporation. When business boomed following the opening of the Erie Canal, the refinery was relocated in 1857 to the Williamsburg waterfront. By 1870, the refinery was processing more than half the sugar used in the United States, and by the end of the nineteenth century it was the largest sugar refinery in the world.
The company was renamed the American Sugar Refinery Company in 1877, and later became Domino Sugar. After operating for almost 148 years, he Brooklyn plant ceased production in 2004. Two Trees Management Company acquired the 11-acre site in 2012 and formulated the redevelopment plan that will bring 3,000 new jobs and affordable housing to the area.
Historic Restoration Project
The two 80-foot tall gantry cranes relocated by R. Baker & Son stood side by side at the edge of the East River on a 425-foot long railroad track system. These massive cranes were once used to unload raw sugar from freighters arriving from Latin America and the Caribbean to be refined and packaged at the Williamsburg facility. R. Baker crews erected and utilized a 600-ton crawler crane to carefully remove each of the cranes’
50,000 lb. booms and 58,000 lb. counterweights, along with the 135-ton operator control house, structure, and travel system. The dismantled pieces were relocated and staged to be refurbished and restored, and will be re-erected for display upon completion of the waterfront redevelopment project.
The Domino redevelopment project is the latest of many New York City landmark projects that R. Baker & Son has been involved in, including work at the Statue of Liberty, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and the United Nations.
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