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This post courtesy of Explore Brooklyn, an all-inclusive guide to the businesses, neighborhoods, and attractions that make Brooklyn great.

Before Brooklyn was a cultural and arts destination, it was first a Dutch settlement known as Breuckelen — named after the town of Breukelen in the Netherlands. The Dutch colonized what is now present-day Brooklyn in 1646, establishing six different towns with defined borders. These original towns eventually became English settlements, and then the settlements were consolidated to create the City of Brooklyn. (Brooklyn wasn’t incorporated into greater New York City until 1898.)

The original six Brooklyn towns that would become Brooklyn were Bushwick, Brooklyn, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Utrecht and Flatbush. Present-day Brooklyn neighborhoods bearing these names are located roughly in the center of each of these original towns. Here are a few details of those six original towns, when Brooklyn looked a whole lot different than it does today.

Map of Brooklyn towns via Ephemeral New York.

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The Flatbush development wave hits again. As reported last month by NY YIMBY, Boaz Gilad of Brookland Capital is building a seven-story, 66-unit apartment building at 88-92 Linden Boulevard.

No demolition permits or applications for new buildings have yet been filed for the site, though Gilad told NY YIMBY that he’d do it this month. Gilad paid $2,070,000 for No. 88, the turreted one on the right, in May. His purchase of No. 92, on the left, has yet to hit public records.

A tipster in the neighborhood sent Brownstoner pictures showing that a green construction fence recently went up around the two turn-of-the-last-century houses currently on the site, between Rogers and Bedford Avenue. The houses both feature some interesting architectural details that we’ll be sad to see go.

Interior shots of the homes and more information on Brookland Capital after the jump.

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Brooklyn’s wave of development just made a big splash in Flatbush, where a no-name developer is demolishing three houses — including a unique faux French chateau — to make way for a 69-unit apartment building.

The new building, whose address will be 200 Linden Boulevard, will have 69 apartments and a day care facility. It will be eight stories tall and cover four wide lots. The architect is the emerging Charles Mallea — more about him in a moment.

A Brownstoner reader caught the biggest of the three houses in mid-demo Thursday and sent us these photos. He said of the faux French chateau, a Brownstoner Building of the Day in 2011:

Was going down Linden Boulevard today and noticed a standout building being torn down. 210-212 Linden Boulevard was a really magnificent mansion at some point. It has unfortunately gone under the knife many times since the early days, and was being used as a doctor’s offices most recently. Well, sadly, the building (along with the two next to it) is being wiped off the face of the earth.

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This shingled turn-of-the-last century standalone house at 685 East 18th Street in Flatbush’s Midwood Park has a wraparound porch, garage, and plenty of room. Close to Brooklyn College, it was designed by architect Benjamin Driesler and built in 1907, according to the listing.

Inside, we see a fireplace, stained glass, built-ins, a coffered ceiling in the dining room, and an updated kitchen and baths. There are five bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

We continue our weeklong look at Brooklyn’s greatest treasure, Prospect Park.

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

The first polo game in Prospect Park was played on June 11, 1879. It was between the Westchester Polo Club and a club from Queens.

Up until that day, “polo” had a totally different meaning to Brooklyn’s sports lovers. It meant ice polo, a game we now call hockey. It had been played in Brooklyn for several years, inaugurated by the Crescent Athletic Club and other well-to-do sports clubs.

They played in the Clermont Rink in Fort Greene, against clubs from nearby colleges like Yale and Columbia as well as other sports clubs.

As Brooklyn was getting richer, so too were her sports. Polo, the game with horses, had been played in Persia for centuries. A version of it traveled to the east, and was in play for hundreds of years in India before it was encountered by bored aristocratic British officers stationed there in the middle of the 19th century.

Two British soldiers started a polo club to introduce the sport — basically hockey on horses — to their countrymen, and the game took off and has been popular ever since. 

Editor’s note: An updated version of this post can be viewed here.

We continue this week’s look at Brooklyn’s natural treasure: Prospect Park. Summer is coming!

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Prospect Park Peristyle, aka Grecian Shelter, aka Croquet Shelter
Address: 96 Parkside Avenue
Cross Streets: Park Circle and Ocean Avenue
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: 1905
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: McKim, Mead & White
Other Works by Architect: In Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza park entrance, and other entrances and structures within Prospect Park (Stanford White)
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (1968)

The story: Who doesn’t love this Classical Greek inspired structure? For many people, Prospect Park begins and ends on the Park Slope side, but other parts of the park have some of the best goodies, some hidden, and some, like this shelter, in plain view.

And to learn that it was designed by one of the finest architectural firms in the history of American architecture is just icing on the cake. As summer rapidly is upon us, let’s take a look at this wonderful folly on the Flatbush side of the park.

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What did your Brooklyn row house look like originally? What year was it built? Who was the architect? Was it a two-family, one-family or something else? These are all questions original blueprints can answer. You may want to know because you are renovating, you have a passion for old houses, you are a new owner or you’re just curious.

Finding your original blueprints requires some legwork, ingenuity and persistence, as Brownstoner reader chemosphere recently discovered when researching his house in Flatbush.

He posted about the process, what he found and questions about the 100-year-old shorthand he was trying to decipher in a few separate posts in the forum. He has kindly allowed us to use those posts and the pictures of the blueprints he found to discuss in more detail how to find and read your original blueprints.

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Atlantic Yards watchdog and blogger Norman Oder will be leading a Municipal Arts Society walking tour of Flatbush this weekend. “Generations in Flatbush” will cover a lot of ground both metaphorically and literally.

Participants will get to check out the West Indian part of Flatbush Avenue and landmarks such as Kings Theatre and Erasmus High School (pictured above). The tour will also include the Albemarle-Kenmore Terraces Historic District and the large detached houses of Prospect Park South. “Please note that this tour moves at a brisk pace,” says the writeup.