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Brooklyn - Prospect Park: Lefferts Homestead

Lefferts Homestead in Prospect Park is one of the few surviving Dutch Colonial farmhouses in Brooklyn. Built for a prominent 18th-century Flatbush landowner, it was home to at least four generations of the Lefferts family.

 

Located six blocks north of its original site on Flatbush Avenue near Maple Street, the house, which dates to 1777-83, combines Dutch colonial architecture with Federal details. A bell-shaped gambrel roof creates sloping eaves that hang over front and back porches with slender columns. Carved woodwork and circle-and-diamond pattern transom windows adorn the Dutch-style split front door.

 

Peter Lefferts owned the house when it was built between 1777 and 1783 to replace an earlier family home burned during the battle of Long Island in 1776. At the time, Flatbush was a farming village surrounded by woodland with about 1,000 residents. Lefferts was the great-great-grandson of Pieter Janse Hagewout, who left Holland with his family aboard a ship called "The Spotted Cow" in 1660. One of the richest men in Kings County, with 240 acres of land, Lefferts headed a large household that included 8 family members and 12 enslaved servants.

 

Lefferts served as a lieutenant in the Colonial Army and became a judge on the County Court of Sessions and Common Pleas. In 1788, he was a delegate to the state convention in Poughkeepsie when New York ratified the United States Constitution. When Lefferts died in 1791, he left the Homestead to his six-year-old son, John.

 

John Lefferts served as a member of the New York State Senate (1821-1826). His daughter, Phebe Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt, was the author of The Social History of Flatbush, which includes stories told by her grandmother (John's mother), Femmetie Hegeman Lefferts.

 

The house is now a museum specializing in children's educational programs.

 

The Lefferts Homestead was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966.

 

Prospect Park National Register #80002637

 

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Taken on July 2, 2006