HUNTERFLY ROAD HOUSES (WEEKSVILLE)
1698 Bergen Street, Brooklyn
Weeksville was home to about 500 residents in the 1850s, and served as a refuge for black families during Manhattan’s violent Draft Riots of 1863. The village was named for James Weeks, an African American stevedore from Virginia who purchased a tract of land here in 1838, 11 years after slavery was abolished in New York State. The community boasted a number of churches, schools and other institutions, as well as one of the first African American newspapers, the Freedman’s Torchlight. As Brooklyn grew, the village became absorbed into the greater neighborhood of Crown Heights and its memory faded, but in 1968, a Pratt Institute workshop led by historian James Hurley rediscovered the Hunterfly Road houses and a new mission was launched to preserve Weeksville’s memory. That same year saw the formation of The Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History (or “The Weeksville Society”), which, under the leadership of Joan Maynard, purchased the Hunterfly Road houses in 1973 for a museum. The houses, built between 1840 and 1880, are all Individual Landmarks and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.