Caples Jefferson Architects has designed a gorgeous new building for Weeksville Heritage Center, the 1.5-acre museum complex in Crown Heights about the 19th century free African American community of Weeksville, now part of Crown Heights. The very modern stone, glass and wood building stands in stark contrast to the three original 19th-century Weeksville structures, known as the Hunterfly Road Houses.
It is 23,000 square feet and will hold exhibition and event space. Architect and designboom have articles on the center, which we saw when Curbed wrote about them both. There are also photos of the space in progress on the Weeksville Heritage Center site. As far as we can tell, the new building is not yet open. (The museum’s own site says “Coming Soon.”)
The last big event at the Weeksville museum was the yearly Harvest Festival in October. In January, the museum will have an exhibit about the abolitionist movement in New York, part of a Brooklyn program called In Pursuit of Freedom.
Click through to all four sites to see tons more pictures of the new building and grounds. What do you think of the design?
Name: Bethel AME Church, formerly PS 83, at site of former Colored School # 2. Address: 1634 Dean Street, corner of Schenectady Avenue Neighborhood: Weeksville section of Crown Heights North Year Built: 1921, according to ACRIS, have doubts about that. Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival Architect: Unknown Landmarked: No
The story: This building is actually more important for what it represents, and for what was on this site previously to the building of this school. It is the site of the Colored School Number 2, one of Brooklyn’s four segregated schools for black students. The most well-known of these schools is the landmarked Colored School number 3 (PS 69) on Union Avenue in Williamsburg. Colored School #2 was built in the successful African-American community of Weeksville, which once surrounded it. Today, the Weeksville Heritage Center is only a couple of blocks away, on Bergen St. (more…)
Name: Row House Address: 1574 Bergen Street, between Utica and Troy Avenues Neighborhood: Weeksville section of Crown Heights Year Built: Unknown Architectural Style: Italianate Architect: Unknown Landmarked: No
The story: These attractive clapboard, or in this case, shingled, houses appear here and there throughout Brownstone Brooklyn. I always enjoy seeing them, as they represent rare survivors, and are more often than not, the first houses in neighborhoods to be covered over with aluminum or vinyl siding, asbestos siding or some kind of stone faced stucco. They often lose their cornices, hooded window cases, and porches. Rarely will you find an intact row of them, usually, like here, there will be one, perhaps two in the row that are whole, or almost so. This particular house is in the Weeksville section of Crown Heights, far to the east of the wealthy and upper middle class area near Nostrand Avenue. These were always working class homes. This one is remarkably original, with fish scale shingles, and mostly intact brackets and dentils on the window frames. The porch is also intact, featuring standard catalog issue, turned wood gingerbread, in great shape. These are classic vernacular Brooklyn houses, often pooh-poohed for their ordinary-ness, but a vital part of the pantheon of Brooklyn architecture.