Why is this site significant?
Founded before the Civil War, Weeksville was one of the country’s first free Black communities and one of the few of its era still extent. Members of the community, who had played an important role in the abolitionist movement, constructed numerous one- and two-story wooden houses. They also built churches, a school, an orphanage, a home for the elderly, and a structure housing one of the nation’s first African American newspapers, the Freedman’s Torchlight. All but subsumed into modern-day Brooklyn by the 1960s, the buildings were rediscovered, leading to their restoration and preservation.
What did the New York Landmarks Conservancy do?
We were an early proponent of interpreting the community’s remaining houses and opening them to the public. We provided an $11,353 grant for a conditions survey and $27,825 in grants to complete restoration. Recently, we gave more than $57,000 in grants to replace a roof, restore deteriorated wood features, fix an access ramp, and renovate the summer house.