This one-family townhouse in Crown Heights has been completely renovated in thoroughly modern style, with contemporary geometric light fixtures, a sleek kitchen and a whole lot of marble.

In addition to being wired up with a home security system, Bose ceiling speakers, master lighting controls and a basement screening area with surround sound, it’s got something not often found in one-family homes: a basement steam room.


This landmarked single-family, at 904 Saint Johns Place in the Crown Heights Historic District, has gotten a nice top-to-bottom renovation, with a good deal of original detail restored. Most notably that includes a lot of unpainted maple woodwork, including door and window frames, fireplaces, pocket doors, wainscoting and a large pier mirror in the living room.

There are modern touches as well — exposed brick, recessed lighting and a modern kitchen. The latter is spacious and nicely done, with white Caesarstone counters and island, a six-burner Viking range and a wine refrigerator. 

Imagine being told your entire life that you were not really a citizen of your town or country. Imagine being treated as an inferior, offered only the most menial of jobs, and told to be happy with your lot in life. Imagine being banned from churches, stores and theaters, even cemeteries, because they did not serve “your kind.”

Now imagine finding a town where you were accepted — a town where you were able to build your own home, worship in your own church, buy from stores owned by people like you, and raise and educate your children in a place where they would be welcome. A town where you could reach old age and pass on in dignity and equality.

For Brooklyn’s African-American population in the 19th century, some of whom were recently freed from slavery, this remarkable town was called Weeksville. And it survives today in bits and pieces, some of which now comprise a historic center in present-day Crown Heights. Here is its story.


Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature.

A basketball contest in Lincoln Terrace Park, located in Crown Heights’ southeastern corner, in 1943. Photo via the New York City Parks Photo Archive

Brooklyn’s sprawling Crown Heights neighborhood is known for its West Indian population and the community’s annual parade on Labor Day, a festival of vivacious feather headdresses that dances down the area’s main thoroughfare, Eastern Parkway.


This four-story, four-unit Queen Anne–style row house is unusually large — 3,845 square feet spread across four floors. The exact layout is a mystery since there is no floor plan, but according to the the listing it has nine bedrooms and four bathrooms. The home, at 1397 Dean Street, is just a few blocks from the Kingston-Throop stop on the C train.