The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously today to create the East 25th Street Historic District, the first official historic district in East Flatbush.
The one-block district, which includes both sides of East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D, comprises 56 Renaissance Revival-style row houses that the Commission called “remarkably intact and cohesive” in a press release it published after the decision was announced.
“Through this designation, the Commission is recognizing both the architectural quality and the residents’ incredible stewardship of their historic homes and their block,” LPC Chair Sarah Carroll said in the press release. “I have been so impressed by how the historic architecture drew people to this block and how their community spirit has grown stronger through their collective efforts to green, beautify and preserve it.”
The request for designation was submitted by the 300 East 25th Street Block Association, which saw the move as a way to protect the block from the redevelopment happening elsewhere in the neighborhood and borough.
“The 300 E 25th St. Block Association hopes that our community’s work and preservation legacy will be further solidified by the homes that we leave intact for future generations,” Carol Reneau, the Association’s Co-President, said in the press release.
The designation was also supported by the local Council Member, Farah Louis, and by the Historic Districts Council.
“After years of mostly large-scale development projects disrupting our community and displacing families, we have taken a monumental step forward to set a precedent that sends a clear message, ‘we are here to stay,” Council Member Farah Louis said following the announcement. “The designation of the East 25th Street Historic District is a decisive win for all of us who fought to preserve history and deep family ties to District 45. I am proud to join my neighbors and constituents in celebrating the first-ever historic district in East Flatbush. The predominantly Black and Caribbean homeowners can now rest assured that their properties are beyond the reach of developers. Together, we will continue to protect our homes against any attempt to destroy our community’s unique architecture, beginning with the Renaissance Revival-style rowhouses.”
The houses on the block were designed by the Williamsburg firm Glucroft & Glucroft, and built by the Henry Meyer Building Company between 1909 and 1912. The buildings’ original facades remain largely intact and together form an unbroken row of Renaissance Revival-style homes, a fact the Commission called “especially distinctive for this area of Flatbush, with its typically more varied streetscapes.”
Notable early residents of the historic district included the suffragist Nellie Marshall, and Austin Tobin, a former executive director of the Port Authority. Though the houses were originally owned and occupied by the families of white merchants, the block is now home to mostly African American and Afro-Caribbean families.