The Dancing Cranes and Disappearing Act you saw yesterday and the day before, are some of the historic features that render a walk along the Domino Park all the more fun.
The 80-foot tall Gantry Cranes were used to unload bulk sugarcane from freight ships for storage at the Raw Sugar Warehouse, 21 columns of which stand in their original place along the Elevated Walkway (not pictured).
The bridge with the misters performing the Disappearing Act, stands in front of the Syrup Tanks, four of the fourteen large-scale tanks that were used to collect high volumes of liquid sweetener generated in sugar processing, dating back to the 1950s.
And the magnificent industrial brick giant you see below is none other than the Domino Sugar Refinery, closed in 2004 after 150 years production of the white sweet crystals we now love to hate. The entire building is undergoing renovation, with the facade being preserved in its entirety and the interior converted into ”creative office space”.
The Domino Park website shows many of the park’s features today next to black & white photos of their original use accompanied by historical notes, from where the following excerpt:
“Because of its ease of access by larger shipping vessels, Frederick C Havemeyer Jr. selected this area in 1856 to establish the F. C. Havemeyer & Company refinery, which would eventually become known as the Domino Sugar Refinery. At its peak in 1919, the Domino Sugar Refinery employed approximately 4,500 workers from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities.
Immigrants from Germany, Poland, Ireland and other European countries — and in its later years — Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and other people of Caribbean descent as well as African Americans all endured difficult working conditions at the Refinery in search of opportunity and prosperity. While the Refinery figured prominently in the explosive growth of Williamsburg’s industry and economy, it is the diversity of community surrounding this site that has become its lasting legacy.”