Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park
Intersection of Flatbush and Ocean Avenues and Empire BlvdBrooklyn, New York
Lefferts Historic House 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 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.
Pieter 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 surrounding 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.
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.
These stories serve as the basis for programs designed to build empathy for people of the past through dramatic play.
Reproductions of a barn, a Dutch kitchen, three children's homes and numerous early American tools and toys provide the settings and props for the museum's 1820s interpretive period. Events/ exhibitions include Linsey Woolsey Flax & Fleece, Growing for Market, Summer Songs & Stories, Harvest Fair, and the Friday Sewing Club.