The Circus Grounds

The Circus Grounds of Flatbush

Seen from the air, the old Circus Grounds. This was the location of regular visits from the circus until the 1930's.

The Wood-Harmon property was only one of several possible sites considered for the building of "a collegiate center in the borough with the largest high school registration" - Brooklyn.

In 1926 the Board of Higher Education was mandated to build what was to become Brooklyn College, and the search for a location began in earnest. Many possible sites were considered including the Mt. Prospect Reservoir site of 10 acres near Prospect Park, Owl's Head Park (the Bliss Estate) of 25 acres at 68th Street, and the Wood-Harmon field of 40-50 acres at the junction of Bedford Avenue and Avenue H.

This third site, and the one eventually chosen, was vacant and was used occasionally as a golf course when Ringling Brothers Circus was not in town. At first the Board of Estimate balked. The owners were asking $5,500,000, a huge sum in those days, and many considered to asking price outrageous. But in 1932 all planning was put on hold by one of New York City's many financial crises. The Wood-Harmon owners kept lowering and lowering their asking price, but it was not until the New Deal and the advent of Fiorello H. LaGuardia in 1934 that serious plans came back on track.


Science at a Distance
© 1997, Professor John Blamire