COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Brooklyn Borough Historian Ron Schweiger attends community events and speaks at them regularly, providing pictures and memorabilia from Brooklyn’s past, as well as leading walking tours, giving a new perspective of each neighborhood, even to people who have lived there their whole lives.
As Brooklyn’s historian, Schweiger uses his extensive knowledge of the borough and over 3,000 slides of old Brooklyn street scenes to educate its residents. He also takes Brooklynites and tourists alike on walking tours of historic neighborhoods and is currently working to make the Sheepshead Bay Footbridge a New York City landmark.
Parts of that bridge are older than the Brooklyn Bridge, he said. It’s from 1880, it’s very historic and deserves to be a landmark. He is proactive in his efforts to educate and inform the public, as well as do the most good for Brooklyn with his appointed position.
He was also appointed the president of his synagogue, Temple Beth Emeth, is now the president of the Brooklyn College Alumni Association and will be inducted as the president of the Society of Old Brooklynites on June 23.
PERSONAL LIFE: Schweiger was born and raised in Brooklyn. He married his wife in 1969 and they moved from their respective childhood neighborhoods in the borough to Flatbush. They have two sons together, both of whom live in Brooklyn.
As a resident of Flatbush, Schweiger developed an interest in Brooklyn history and was appointed homeowners’ association president even though he was a renter in the area!
CAREER: Before being appointed as Brooklyn borough historian by Borough President Marty Markowitz in 2002, Schweiger was a science teacher for 39 years, first at Public School 219 and then at Yeshiva of Flatbush.
Now that he is retired from teaching, Schweiger enjoys amateur storm chasing and even went on a storm chasing adventure through the Great Plains in 2006.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Schweiger says that his greatest challenge in life has been the completion of two major surgeries within the past three years.
When you get older, it becomes like having an old car that you know really well. You know the sounds the car is supposed to make, he explained. When it acts up, you bring it in and replace a part. Once you do that, everything is fine again!
He has stayed positive and says he feels fine now and that he is ready to continue studying Brooklyn and teaching its history to residents.