By Nicholas Kalis
Eleventh in a series of glimpses into industries or warehouses that made for interesting freight operations on the Long Island. Information presented has included, where available, a brief history of the firm, how it was served by the LIRR, and what commodities were received or shipped from this facility.
Brenner Paper Corporation (phone number RAvenswood 9-0535), located at 42-24 Orchard Street, Long Island City was known as Spot 12a according to page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings published in June 1966. This 1966 publication puts Brenner facing Yard A and sharing a siding with American Steel Wool. In fact, Brenner shared the same building as American Steel Wool. According to the Hyde Atlas, Queens Vol. 1, updated through 1955, this building was bounded by Orchard Street, Jackson Avenue, and Yard A. According to the founder’s daughter, Rhoda Levenson, her father, Louis Brenner founded the firm in 1932. Mrs. Levenson’s husband, Eugene ran the firm in the 1960s. Brenner was a substantial firm even at that time as evidenced by the fleet of trucks that adorned an old photograph (Photo 1) Mrs. Rhoda Brenner Levenson shared with me. According to Mrs. Levenson, Brenner Paper Corp. occupied this space until 1979/80. Presently owned by Rhoda Levenson and still known as Brenner Paper Corporation, this firm moved to Glendale, Queens.
Brenner shared this address with American Steel Wool Manufacturing during the period of 1940 - 1960s. This facility, occupied a white 5-story brick building with a red sign with white letters that read “AMERICAN STEEL WOOL”, appears on page 5 of Penn Central Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by James Kinkaid and published by Morning Sun Books, Inc. Spot 12a has a separate tall, square, brick smoke stack to its west side and a one-story building painted white further to its west. Brenner’s spot (12A) was to the east of American Steel Wool. The purpose of this one-story building has yet to be uncovered. That siding is not in service today.
Commodities shipped into this facility by rail were large rolls of paper carried in box cars. These paper rolls originated in St. Catharines, Ontario from the Domtar Paper Mill. Brenner produced envelopes but only empties left this facility by rail.
Please send photographs showing how Brenner appeared in the 1960s
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