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Rediscover transit history at Onderdonk House this Saturday

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Vlad Rud

Train lovers and history buffs are invited to visit the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood this Saturday for a special presentation on the city’s forgotten transit system.

Local transit expert Robert Diamond will talk about discoveries he’s made in researching Brooklyn’s past during a special lecture at 2 p.m. on May 30 at the historic Onderdonk House, located at 1820 Flushing Ave. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society (GRHS) is sponsoring the event.

Dubbed by the GRHS as “Brooklyn’s own Indiana Jones,” Diamond will speak about his discovery 30 years ago of the long-abandoned Atlantic Avenue rail tunnel, which last saw train service in 1861. During the early 20th century, it was believed to have been used by bootleggers as an underground means to transport alcohol during Prohibition.

There were also rumors of the tunnel being used by German spies during World War I and that it may have played a role in John Wilkes Booth’s plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Diamond, who founded the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, will also speak about his efforts to preserve and promote the Red Hook Streetcar, a proposed revival of trolley lines once commonplace in Brooklyn and Queens during the mid-20th century.

The event is funded in part through grants allocated by City Council members Elizabeth Crowley and Antonio Reynoso through the city Department of Cultural Affairs.

Click here for more information about this event and others at the Onderdonk House.

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