THE ORIGIN OF THE LEFFERTS MANOR neighborhood can be traced to the latter part of the 19th Century. At that time, the completions of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Bridge and the development of the mass transit systems in Kings County had been responsible for an urban expansion in the neighboring northern communities, such as Park Slope. In 1893, taking advantage of the trend, James Lefferts, a descendant of early Dutch settlers, decided that the estate portion of his large farm in northern Flatbush Village would be subdivided for development. But Lefferts was not content with merely selling off the 600 lots within the designated eightblock area. He foresaw a future community of stable, middle class families residing in substantially built homes. To ensure his vision, Lefferts attached perpetual restrictive covenants to each lot. Houses were to be only single family residences built of brick or stone, with at least two stories plus a cellar and set back at least 14 feet from the street. The cost could be no less than $5,000.
Early censuses of the Manor area attest to Lefferts’ success at creating the middle class neighborhood he desired. Nearly all of the first (male) residents were either professional or white-collar workers. Among the professions listed were businessmen, doctors, lawyers, builders, stockbrokers, real estate brokers, clerks, accountants, secretaries and skilled craftsmen. Many of the Manor homes also listed servants as residents.