Flatbush was one of the original six towns in Brooklyn, colonized by Dutch farmers in 1652. The name is an adaptation of the Dutch appellation Vlacke bos which means “flat woodland.” It remained mostly farmland until the Flatbush and Coney Island Railroad opened in 1878. The increased access turned Flatbush into a proto-suburb, as commuters from the then-separate cities of New York and Brooklyn moved in. The Flatbush Town Hall, built in 1875 and now a New York City Landmark, is a relic of the independent town. In 1894, Flatbush was incorporated into the City of Brooklyn, which then became part of the City of New York when the five boroughs merged in 1898.