Another important part of Flatbush’s history near the turn of the century was its annexation to Brooklyn and the consolidation of Brooklyn into New York City. In 1894, Flatbush was annexed into the City of Brooklyn, quite some time after the other towns of Kings County.[i] The Brooklyn Eagle reported celebration among the citizens of Flatbush upon the annexation in May.[ii] Two years later, the Eagle wrote of the tremendous growth of the population of Flatbush, particularly in the last two years since the annex. Confirming this, the censuses of Kings County show that there was a drastic increase in population from 1890 to 1900, nearly doubling its total. The Eagle stated that because of this, new financial institutions were necessary, especially in the 29th Ward—Flatbush—where the nearest bank was two miles away from the business center.[iii]

While newspapers remained relatively quiet about the annexation at the time, they could not stop writing in anticipation of the consolidation of Brooklyn and the City of New York, which happened in 1898. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, for one, reported about the possible consolidation from before Flatbush was even annexed, and was not particularly favorable towards it. Such opposition stemmed from a fear of racial minorities and the loss of the Protestant nature of the city.[iv] There was a lot of debate leading up to consolidation; factors like lighter taxes were argued against losing their sense of individuality.[v] In 1894, the Eagle reported that 26 Brooklyn districts voted no on the matter of consolidation. Flatbush, however, was not one of these 26 districts. Ultimately, the consolidation bill won by a slight margin in Brooklyn (fewer than 300 votes), due to attention to the issues of finance and water supply.[vi] The New York Times presented the consolidation as accepted “without the slightest friction,” and noted with a degree of exaggeration that the “anti-consolidation feeling, which had long been sentimental, had long since almost entirely disappeared.”[vii]

[i] Jackson and Manbeck, The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

[ii] “Music, Speeches, Good Cheer: All Combined at the Flatbush Annexation Celebration,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 20, 1894.

[iii] “Flatbush Citizens Discuss the Formation of a Trust Company,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 4, 1896.

[iv] Kenneth T. Jackson, Encyclopedia of the City of New York. (New Haven & New York: Yale University Press, 1995).

[v] “A Sale of Franchises: A Memorial From the Single Tax League,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 7, 1893.

[vi] Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 1232.

[vii] New York Times, January 2, 1898.