From Factory to Community Hub

Dee Bowers

Black and white photo showing south side of Fulton Street between Brooklyn and New York Avenues, including former Sheffield Farms Milk Bottling Plant before it became headquarters for Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation adjacent to Restoration Plaza.
V1990.7.1, [South Side of Fulton Street between Brooklyn and New York Avenues], circa 1972. Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation publication and photograph collection, ARC.124. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

I recently reprocessed our small Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation publication and photograph collection (ARC.124), which includes this photograph. At first I was thrown off by a notation on the back reading "Sheffield," and thought this must show Sheffield Avenue in New Lots. But I quickly realized that the label in fact referred to the large building at right, which is the former Sheffield Farms milk bottling plant on Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. What does this have to do with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation? In 1972, the corporation took over and renovated this stately building as part of the creation of Restoration Plaza, a community hub in the heart of Bed-Stuy. According to Restoration's website, the plaza "has served as a space for—and source of—nearly every facet of community life, including a venue for concerts, holiday parties, job fairs, farmers’ markets, film screenings and Restoration’s annual 10K run. In 2021, the Plaza added another historic service to its roster as a COVID- 19 Vaccination site." This historic facade still presides over Fulton Street, as seen in the Google Streetview screenshot below, but has achieved a whole second life since being rescued by Restoration 50 years ago.

Google Streetview screenshot of Fulton Street facade of Restoration Plaza

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collections? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to inviting you to CBH in the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our resources page to search our collections. Questions? Our reference staff is available to help with your research! You can reach us at


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


Post a Comment

While BPL encourages an open forum, posts and comments are moderated by library staff. BPL reserves the right, within its sole discretion, not to post and to remove submissions or comments that are unlawful or violate this policy. While comments will not be edited by BPL personnel, a comment may be deleted if it violates our comment policy.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
eNews Signup

Get the latest updates from BPL and be the first to know about new programs, author talks, exciting events and opportunities to support your local library.

Sign Up