Part of the original Dutch town of Flatlands, the Mill Basin area was called Equendito (Broken Lands) by the indigenous Canarsies, who sold it in 1664 to John Tilton, Jr. and Samuel Spicer.
The name of the neighborhood later was changed to Mill Island because of the tidal mills, which used the motion of the tides to grind grain.They were built on the land which was owned from 1675 by Jan Martense Schenck and between 1818 and 1870 by the family of General Philip S. Crooke.
(The Crooke-Schenck House, which stood at East 63rd Street, was dismantled in 1952 and later reassembled as an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.)
The area, later called Mill Basin, retained its rural character until Robert L. Crooke built a lead-smelting plant there in 1890. In 1900, Crooke Smelting was bought out and his land sold to McNulty and Fitzgerald, which built the bulkheads that filled in the marshes.
In 1906, the Flatbush Improvement Company bought the marshland, had the creeks dredged and the open meadows filled in. Industrial development followed and shipping businesses came in.
Beginning in 1913, when Flatbush Ave. was extended to the Rockaway Inlet, more dock facilities were built as well as a roadway along the marshes.
In 1970, Mill Basin became home to the first suburban shopping mall in Brooklyn, the Kings Plaza Shopping Center, adjacent to a marina and in a sector still known as Old Mill Basin.
Brooklyn-born Norm Goldstein is retired, after working 44 years for the Associated Press, the global news agency, where he served as a reporter, feature writer, editor, author and administrator. He also worked for AP as director of Educational Services and editor of the AP Stylebook. He graduated from Brooklyn College and the Penn State Graduate School of Journalism. He currently lives in Brooklyn Heights.