Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Private house
Address: 1352 Prospect Place
Cross Streets: Schenectady and Utica avenues
Neighborhood: Crown Heights North/Weeksville
Year Built: Unknown
Architectural Style: Italianate
The story: Eastern Crown Heights is an interesting neighborhood. The blocks that surround the avenues that were named after cities in upstate New York have not really been on anyone’s radar – ever. At least, not until recently, when the search for an affordable row house has taken people to places they would never have thought of venturing before.
Not too many people ventured here for a very long time. This was the 9th Ward, practically the eastern end of Brooklyn, and much of it was farmland and undeveloped property until the very end of the 19th century. This was also considered to be Weeksville.
Only a few blocks from here, James Weeks and a group of African American Brooklynites founded a town called Weeksville in 1838. It was a place where black people could be free build their homes and walk their streets unquestioned. They opened and operate businesses, schools, churches and charitable organizations, all free of the ingrained prejudices and restrictions all too present in mid-19th century Brooklyn.
Today’s Weeksville Heritage Center has preserved the last remaining group of these houses, and a rich cultural center has been built up around it. But people forget that Weeksville was not just one block of houses. It was a town, and its informal boundaries stretched out in all directions for a number of blocks. (more…)