Alhambra Apartments on Nostrand Avenue. Photo by Suzanne Spellen

There’s nothing like a Gilded Age apartment to set the heart racing — or to inspire a swap for one’s first born, as the movie Rosemary’s Baby so famously depicted. That particularly coveted real estate showstopper was located in Manhattan’s Dakota building, home to stars from John Lennon to Lauren Bacall.

But Brooklyn has its grand apartment buildings too. These immense elaborate structures attracted admiration like no others — and they still do today.

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“The Kouwenhoven Farmhouse, the house that my great grandparents occupied from about 1900 until 1925 when the land was sold to developers and Kings Highway was expanded. The figures on the porch were farm hands.”

An old Dutch farm that once stood in Flatlands is gone but not forgotten. A Brownstoner reader sent in never-before-published family photos and stories of life on the farm circa 1900, when his great-grandfather lived there.

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

Flatbush and Church avenues, circa 1918. Photo via Brooklyn Historical Society

Flatbush encompasses a sprawling mass of central Brooklyn, serving as a main artery and residential hub for more than 100,000 Brooklynites as well as being the borough’s literal center.

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.