Architecture

The houses on the Lefferts Manor historic district constitute a coherent sample of residential design in New York from the 1890s to the 1920s. They are mostly two and three story rowhouses forming unified blockfronts on both sides of the streets with a few large freestanding homes in some blocks. A strict covenant established in (date) by the Lefferts family required homes to have consistent building heights, façade materials and setbacks.

Adding to this architectural homogeneity is the fact that only a small number of architects worked on the design of houses in the 600 plots. Three Brooklyn architects, Benjamin Driesler, Axel Hedman, and the firm Slee & Bryson had the strongest influence on the general look and coherence of the district.

The houses were built to attract a respectable middle-class clientele and the architecture is designed in various revival styles reflecting the popular tastes at the time. There are distinct architectural variations on the buildings which avoid excessive repetition on the blockfront.

The earliest rowhouses were built in 1898 in the Romanesque Revival style, such as can be found at numbers 56 to 60 on Rutland Road. Other styles followed such as Transitional Romanesque Revival/neo- Renaissance (Midwood Ave. #s 51–71 and 52–72, 1898), Neo-Renaissance, (Maple St. between Bedford and Rogers Aves.,1909–10), Neo-Georgian/Neo-Federal (Midwood Ave. #s 13–49 and 74–88, 1915–17), and finally Neo-Tudor as seen in the rowhouses of Rutland Rd. between Flatbush and Bedford Aves. (1915).

It is not unusual to find buildings designed in all these styles on the same block. On Midwood and Rutland for example houses with Romanesque, Renaissance, Federal, Georgian, and Medieval details are juxtaposed. These are modest examples of similar buildings that were being built in the more affluent areas of Manhattan at the time. Often these houses were built to a much larger scale but with the same mixture of styles.

Thanks to the covenant the area has retained its architectural integrity to a remarkable degree and has contributed to what has been called the effect of “substantial dignity and comfortable respectability” of the neighborhood.

© 2010-2013 Lefferts Manor Association All Rights Reserved