CHARLES LOUIS FUSSELL
West Vincent, Pennsylvania 1840 – 1909 Media, PA
Crow Hill, Brooklyn
Oil on canvas, 12,5 x 29,5 cm
Signed and inscribed at lower right: “C. L. FUSSELL/CROW HILL”
Crow Hill was formerly a district in northeast Brooklyn that extended from the hills east of Prospect Park to East New York. According to tradition, it was named after the largest hill in the area, which was infested with crows. An article published in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1873, however, speculated that the area was named for a settlement established during the 1830s by blacks who were then colloquially known as “crows.”1 These impoverished people lived in shanties on Crow Hill, and worked in Manhattan’s meat and fish markets. In 1846 the Kings County Penitentiary was built on top of the hill, and it may be the large structure visible at the far right of Crow Hill. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts owns six of Fussell’s views of Crow Hill, four of which represent dilapidated but picturesque shanties.
The neighbourhood was gentrified during the early twentieth century and renamed Crown Heights