In the late 17th century, Ditmas Park, now bounded by Dorchester Road, Ocean Avenue, Newkirk Avenue and E. 16th Street, comprised the eastern portion of a farm owned by the Ban Ditmarsen family, who built its first homestead at what is now the intersection of Ditmas and Flatbush Avenues, around 1695.
The land remained rural until the turn of the 20th century, when it was transformed into a suburban residential community featuring large, free standing luxury homes, most of which were custom-built, and many of which are considered architecturally significant. Notable architects who designed homes in Ditmas Park include John J. Petit, Benjamin Dreisler, George Palliser and Arlington Isham. Although the houses in Ditmas Park are often referred to as “Victorian,” the dominant architectural style is actually “Colonial Revival.” A group of 13 Isham-designed “Arts and Crafts” style bungalows are also deemed to have architectural importance.
Ditmas Park’s original trees are older than the houses. As soon as the streets were installed and the (minimum) 50′x100′ lots were demarcated, the builders planted London Plane trees, long before it became commonplace, along with hundreds of Norway Maples, Ditmas Avenue’s beautiful Silver Lindens, and East 19th Street’s Tulip trees.
The Ditmas Park Association was founded in 1908 and is said to be one of the oldest homeowner associations in the country. In 1981, Ditmas Park was designated an historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Source: Flatbush Development Corporation’s “Guide to Victorian Flatbush, 2007″