A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers



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A Generic Off-the-Shelf Cover

Just barely visible in the outer ring of this cover near the carousel in Prospect Park is the inscription | MAH | ER & | FLO | CK H | ART | NEW | ARK | NJ |. The Flockhart name goes back to 1884 as part of a three man company, but by 1897 it reorganized as Maher and Flockhart. In 1918 this company was again reorganized after Maher's death to become Flockhart Foundry. (Of course Walter Grutchfield has all the details.) The changes thus narrow the date on this cover and place it squarely in the time frame of the construction of the carousel around 1913.


The wheel and spoke design was one of the most common designs of the late 19th and earlier 20 centuries. The oldest in New York of course is the 19862 cover in Central Park (see below.)


The wheel and spoke design was often associated with drains and sewers.


This item is behind the carousel in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. The design is fairly common, but the whispy, easily worn away inscription is not seen very often.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs