This post courtesy of Explore Brooklyn, an all-inclusive guide to the businesses, neighborhoods, and attractions that make Brooklyn great.
While Brooklyn is a place of constant flux, the savvy Brooklynite knows where to find remnants of its historical past. Here are five historic Brooklyn buildings that are still standing, despite the incredible changes that are happening all around them.
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Opened in 1851, Brooklyn Borough Hall was originally the City Hall of the former City of Brooklyn, before it was a part of New York City. In 1898, the consolidation went into effect, and this impressive Greek Revival structure became known as Borough Hall. It still houses the offices of the Borough President today and is protected as a New York City landmark.
Read more about Brooklyn Borough Hall here.
Photo by Wally Gobetz via Flickr.
The Wyckoff House by Wikipedia
The Wyckoff House
The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House in East Flatbush is another remnant of the Dutch settlement in Brooklyn. Pieter Claesen built this home in 1652 on a farm settled by him and his family. The restored home now operates as a house museum that educates visitors on the people and lifestyles of Brooklyn’s colonial farms.
Read more about The Wyckoff House here.
The Commandant’s House by the Brooklyn Public Library
The Commandant’s House
Unfortunately you cannot go inside The Commandant’s House, but it remains an important piece of history from Brooklyn’s days as a shipping and naval hub. The white mansion is viewable through a gate on Evans Street in Vinegar Hill. It dates back to 1805 when it was part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and used as the home for the Naval Yard Commandant.
The Navy Yard sold the property to a private owner in 1968, which is why it remains in such good shape today. The majority of historic buildings still at the Navy Yard are crumbling, only making this mansion more significant. To learn more of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s history, be sure to visit the nearby museum BLDG 92.
Read more about the Commandant’s House here.
Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead by Dmadeo
This Dutch Colonial farmhouse at 1669 E. 22nd Street is believed to have been built by Hendrick Wyckoff, a descendent of Dutch immigrants, in 1766. During the Revolutionary War, two Hessian soldiers who were quartered at the house carved their names into the windows. There’s a barn on the property, still used for horses through the 1930s by the Bennett family.
Owner Stuart Mont and his late wife Annette bought the house for $160,000 in 1983. Plans for the building to be acquired by the city, with the Monts as live-in caretakers, fell through in 2009 — but only after the property was rezoned as a park.
Read more about the Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead here.
Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church by shari h.
Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church
The Flatbush Reformed Church’s website once boasted that they’ve been “doin’ good in the ‘hood since 1654.” This Federal church, landmarked by the city and on the National Register of Historic Places, is built on the oldest site continuously used for religious purposes in New York City. The original building that stood on the site, though was a wooden church, authorized by Governor Peter Stuyvesant himself, in the town of “Midwout” (Midwood), or “Vlaake Bos” (Flatbush).
The current Federal-style church was built between 1793 and 1798, on a design by Thomas Fardon. It features 19th-century stained glass windows from Tiffany, and its cemetery is the final resting place for many of the original denizens of the town that was Flatbush long before it was part of either Brooklyn or New York.
Read more about the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church here.