#1 - photo supplied by June - flickr.com/photos/jms2/2540404820
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
895 Shore Road Pelham Bay Park, NY 10464
Hours - Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday - 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Holiday Closings - Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, July 4th and Thanksgiving
Fees - $5 for adults, $3 for seniors & students, free for children under six
Public Transportation - #6 subway to Pelham Bay Park Station downstairs take Westchester Bee-line #45 bus
Between 1836 and 1842, the three-story Greek Revival Bartow-Pell Mansion was built on its 9-acre country Pelham Bay Park estate that sloped down to Pelham Bay. Robert Bartow, a Pell family descendant and his wife, Maria Lorillard, bought part of the old manor in 1836, and built the rest of it including a beautiful freestanding spiral staircase in the next six years. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and green lawns Robert and Maria raised their children there for about 50 years. In 1888, their children sold the estate to the City of New York to expand the Pelham Bay Park.
The Bartow-Pell Mansion became the clubhouse of the International Garden Club in 1914. Two years later the mansion was restored, enlarged and terraced gardens were added by the International Garden Club. The International Garden Club made the Bartow-Pell Mansion a museum in 1946. The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Bartow-Pell Conservancy, and is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.
To beat the heat of the summer 1936, Fiorello H. La Guardia and his staff ran NYC from basement phones in the Bartow-Pell Mansion. This NYC and National Historic Landmark has restored interiors and is furnished with period cabinets and paintings. These period pieces can be observed on four 45 minute tours of the Mansion and Carriage House that are run at 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.
#2 - photo supplied by Julia Manzerova - flickr.com/photos/julia_manzerova/416970482
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
East Kingsbridge Road and Grand Concourse, Poe Park, Bronx, NY 10458
Hours - Monday-Friday:9am-5pm, Saturday:10am-4pm, Sunday:1pm-5pm
Holiday Closings - Closed mid-December through mid-January & major holidays
Fees - adults $5; seniors, students, or children $3
Public Transportation - Subways: D or #4 trains to Kingsbridge Road. Buses: Bx1, Bx2, Bx9, Bx12, Bx15, Bx17, Bx22, Bx24, Bx26, Bx28, Bx32, Bx34, Bx41, Bx55 to Grand Concourse; Bx35 or Bx28 to 194th Street. MTA Express Bus 4A or 4B
Edgar Allan Poe's last residence, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, is undergoing restoration. Regular hours of operation will soon be back along with a new Visitor Center. The 2,700-sq-ft Poe Park Visitor Center will be an educational facility consisting of an exhibition space, learning areas including an audio-visual show, an assembly area with an information desk and public amenities, and other support spaces for Poe Park. A Visitor Center window will perfectly frame the cottage where Poe wrote "Annabel Lee," a love poem to his 25-year-old wife Virginia, who also died there of tuberculosis in 1847.
Poe's 1812 farmhouse had only five rooms, a narrow staircase leading to two small rooms with 6-ft ceilings in the attic (where he slept with Virginia, who was also his first cousin), a bedroom for Virginia's mother (Mrs. Maria Clemm), living room and kitchen. Since his birth in Boston on January 19, 1809, his life was one disaster after another that led him to depression and drunkenness, but never interrupted his writing quality. Edgar's year at the University of Virginia was marked by gambling debts. Then, after six months at West Point Military Academy, Poe was court-martialed and dismissed for cutting classes. The early deaths of his mother, brother and wife gave his writing, while in Baltimore in the 1830s, plentiful horror, lonely and longing. Underappreciated in life (except for reciting The Raven much of the time a leading source of his income), the tortured sarcastic alcoholic had a hard time accumulating enough money to do more than just live on. While living at the Cottage, Virginia's mother, Maria would forage in neighboring fields to help feed the family.
In 1937, Poe, his mother-in-law and his 15-year-old wife Virginia (who was 13 when they married in 1835) came to NYC for a few months. When the couple and Maria Clemm returned to NYC in 1844, they stayed at a Greenwich Street boardinghouse, followed by a farmhouse on 84th street by Broadway (famous for the spot where he wrote The Raven). The family moved a few more times before ending up, in May 1845, on the site that is now numbered 85 West Third Street (called Amity Street when he was living there). In 1846, the family moved to an undeveloped part of East 47th Street by the East River out of desperation. In May 1846, they leased the famous wood frame cottage on a half acre of property, 13 miles north of NYC in the Fordham section of the Bronx from John Valentine for $100 a year. Poe was hoping that the fresh country air would help Virginia's battle with tuberculosis.
Works written by the penniless Edgar Allan Poe during his time living in the Cottage included "Annabel Lee," (a love poem to Virginia), "The Bells" (from the nearby St. John's College), "Eureka," and published the short story "The Cask of Amontillado" (November 1846). In his forty years on the planet, Poe wrote one of the earliest science fiction stories, wrote poems like no one else, entertained and terrified readers with his horror stories, and took mystery and detective fiction to a new level. The true acknowledgment of his work only came after his death.
Mysterious circumstances in Baltimore killed Poe on October 7, 1849, and that city's Westminster Hall, a Gothic Revival styled former church is where he was buried -- twice. The first spot was marked with a raven after his body was moved to a more tourist-friendly location.
Unlike the unsuccessful attempt to save Poe's Amity Street house (now addressed as 85 W. Third) in NYC's Greenwich Village. the New York Shakespeare Society (which would hold meetings there in 1895) raised funds to save the literary landmark from demolition when Kingsbridge Road was slated to be widened in 1895. The tiny farmhouse north of 192nd Street was first moved back 20 feet, and finally moved by NYC directly across the road to the west side of Kingsbridge Road into a public park, where it stands today. New York City officially created Poe Park in 1902, and bought and moved the cottage in 1913. The cottage's new location in Poe Park was dedicated on November 15, 1913. At the reception a student from Morris High School, Lisbett Hacker, recited The Raven. The Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences restored and administered Poe's Cottage after the move to Poe Park. The Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences in 1917 opened it as a museum, and it became a huge hit. In 1923, 25,000 people from around the world visited the Poe Museum.
Poe's Cottage became an official NYC landmark in 1966, and since then has become a national as well as State of New York landmark. Since 1975, Poe's Cottage which was first built as a workmen's house by John Wheeler, has been administered by the Bronx County Historical Society. The Cottage's five tiny rooms still have the same color paint on the walls, and they have been authentically restored with Poe family furnishings including a desk, mirror, wicker rocking chair, the rope straw bed where Virginia died, and a 19th-century cast-iron stove. Also exhibited are some manuscripts, painted and sculpted portraits of Poe, and early photographs and drawings of the Poe Cottage.
The last standing of Poe's many NYC residences (one he lived in between 1846 and 1849) is right off East Kingsbridge Road by its intersection with Valentine Avenue (just north of 192nd Street) in the Fordham section of the Bronx. Poe's Cottage is the only house left from the former village of Fordham. You can see the cottage from the Bx9 and the Bx22 as it goes up East Kingsbridge Road. Reports of Poe's initials in the bark of an apple tree on the site are hard to prove because the road was widened. Other Poe museums are located in Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia.
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation owns the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, it's operated by the Bronx County Historical Society, and the cottage is part of the Historic House Trust.
Will New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers alike lose interest in Poe? Nevermore.
#3 - photo supplied by wiki - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Valentine-varian-house.JPG
3266 Bainbridge Avenue at East 208th Street, Varian Park, Bronx, NY 10467
Hours - Saturday, 10am - 4pm, Sunday, 1pm - 5pm, by appointment Monday - Friday
Holiday Closings - Closed mid-December through mid-January & major holidays
Public Transportation - Subways: D to 205th Street; #4 to Mosholu Parkway Bus: Bx10, 16, 28, 30, or 34 to Bainbridge Ave./208th Street. Liberty Lines Express Bus 4A, 4B
In a small park behind a wrought-iron fence stands the second location of the second oldest house (the 1748 Van Cortland House was the first) still standing in the Bronx. The four-level Valentine-Varian House, also the oldest farmhouse in the Bronx, is located in the Norwood neighborhood, which is in north-central part of the borough. Isaac Valentine built this Georgian Vernacular styled fieldstone farmhouse in 1758, and farmed its 260-acre property. Isaac Valentine from Yonkers bought the land from the Dutch Reformed Church, built the house from native fieldstones on his land and moved into the house. He fashioned and installed oak and pine floorboards and insulated the 21-inch thick walls with horse and pig hair and mud. Valentine's blacksmith shop location near the Boston Post Road (now Van Cortlandt Avenue) by the King's Bridge provided him with great business fixing broken carriages and carts that passed by his farm.
The Boston Post Road and King's Bridge were important to both the Colonial and the British armies. This historic house survived through six skirmishes in the area between British and American troops during the Revolutionary War, memorialized by a Bronx River Soldier monument in its surrounding gardens with fruit trees. With cannons set up on a nearby hill, it was lucky that this house survived the many battles that surrounded it during the Revolutionary War.
Because of the Revolutionary War, neutralist Valentine and his family had to flee their home, which was then occupied by British, Hessian and American troops. The Valentine family fell on hard times during the Revolutionary War. After the war, the Valentine family returned and in 1791 or 1792, his creditors (the Dutch reformed Church) sold the home and property to a butcher named Isaac Varian. One of Isaac's grandsons (named Isaac like his grandfather) became the 63rd Mayor of New York City (1839 to 1841). Isaac Varian died in 1820, and his son Michael Varian took over the farmhouse. Michael Varian's son Jesse Varian inherited the house in 1893, making it three generations of the Varian family who lived at this historic farmhouse. In 1904, Jesse Varian sold his lands to a developer because after the 1890's local development in the area made it hard to farm the lands.
In 1905, the historic farmhouse and a small parcel of land around it was sold at auction to William F. Beller, ending it's ownership to men named Isaac. The house since it was constructed by Isaac Valentine stood one block south across Bainbridge Avenue on the corner of Van Cortlandt Avenue, it was moved diagonally across the street in the early summer of 1965, and put on a new foundation after being donated to The Bronx County Historical Society by Beller's son, William C Beller..
Since 1968, the Valentine-Varian House has been open to the public as the home of the Museum of Bronx History, and was added 1978 to the National Register of Historic Places (#78001841). Exhibits in two of its lower rooms change bi-annually, and the front parlor's exhibits and photographs highlight the changes in the area from the Indian era, to the Dutch periods through the Revolutionary War. The upper levels are not open to the public, but the Valentine-Varian House does have a museum gift shop accessible on the lower level. The caretaker Marcus, who lives in the upper floors of the Valentine-Varian House, confirms that old farmhouse does have a few friendly ghosts living with him.
Hours - Tuesday - Friday, 10am - 3pm, Saturday & Sunday, 11am - 4pm
Holiday Closings - Closed every Monday and major holidays
Fees - $5.00 adults, $3.00 senior citizens (60+) and students, Children 12 and under and members of The Historic House Trust of New York City admitted free
Public Transportation - Subway - #1 train to 242 Street - Van Cortlandt Park
The oldest building in the Bronx, the Van Cortlandt House was built in 1748, for Frederick Van Cortlandt and his two eldest sons, James and Augustus. It was built around Frederick's dad Jacobus's wheat plantation. Jacobus Van Cortlandt started buying up Bronx land in 1694, to grow wheat and had extensive milling operations around what is now Van Cortlandt Park. The house was built of local fieldstone in the Georgian style and its interiors were filled with the finest period furnishings and decorative arts.
George Washington slept at the Van Cortlandt House during the Revolutionary War at least twice, and so did his British couterpart Sir William Howe. The Van Cortlandt House and its plantation were occupied by both the British and Colonial armies at different points of the war thanks to its strategic location between Broadway and the Albany Post Road.
Van Cortlandt descendants occupied the house up until 1886, when it was sold to NYC for the current Van Cortlandt Park. Ten years later in 1896, the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York restored the house into a museum. Also in Van Cortlandt Park in 1896, the world's first golf course was constructed just south of the historic house.
The Van Cortlandt House is both a national and New York City Historic Landmark, owned by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation. It is still operated as a private, nonprofit institution by the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
The Van Cortlandt House was NYC's first historic house turned museum. It highlights life in the 18th century using many Van Cortlandt family heirlooms. The museum also shows the contrast between the Van Cortlandt families' formal and private rooms to the household's slave quarters.
#5 - photo supplied by Oliver Perrin - op_perrin - flickr.com/photos/29498336@N02/4135123757
Lefferts Historic House
95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Hours - Thursday to Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. and most school holidays, December: Saturday to Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. and school holidays
Holiday Closings - January 4 - February 6, reopening February 6
Public Transportation - Subways - Q, B, or Bed-Stuy shuttle (S) to Prospect Park, the Q to Parkside Avenue, or the 2/5 to Sterling or Winthrop streets. Buses - B-16 or B-43 to Ocean Ave. and Empire Blvd. B-41 or B-48 to Flatbush Ave. and Empire Blvd.
The Lefferts Historic House is the former home of Continental Army Lieutenant Pieter Lefferts, one of the few surviving Dutch Colonial farmhouses in Brooklyn. Lefferts was one of the richest men living in Kings County (Brooklyn), he owned more than 240 acres of land. The Lefferts Historic House replaced the original homestead built in 1687 by his great-grandfather Leffert Pietersen (son of Pieter Janse Hagewout, a cobbler and farmer who emigrated from Holland). It was burned by the Colonial forces during the Battle of Long Island in 1776. The original home was the centerpiece of Leffert Pietersen's 58-acre farm. The Colonial American troops burned the original home, its fields and the neighboring home of the Hegemans, several days before the Battle of Brooklyn (August 26-31, 1776) so they could not be used by the 31,000 invading British and Hessian soldiers. Some reports claim that the two houses were burned because the families had fled and the British were hiding behind them.
Built between 1777 and 1783, the Lefferts Homestead was originally located on Flatbush Avenue near Maple Street in the farming village of Flatbush (first called Vlacke Bos, which is Dutch for wooded plain). After Pieter's death in October 7, 1791, it was inherited by his son John Lefferts (who was a New York State Senator), and then to John's daughter Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt (who wrote the 1881 book The Social History of Flatbush). Four generations of the Lefferts family has lived in this historic house before it was offered to the City of New York in 1917. A year later in 1918, the family moved out and it was moved six blocks to city property in Prospect Park.
In 1920, the agricultural family house was opened as a museum by the Fort Greene chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The New York City landmark is now part of the Historic House Trust, owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Lefferts Historic House is operated by the Prospect Park Alliance. In its period rooms, Lefferts Historic House exhibits documents and historic artifacts that highlight Brooklyn's history from the pre-Colonial era until the present. This environmental history museum interprets Brooklyn's centuries of Indian, Dutch, African and Modern lifestyles.
Today Lefferts Homestead is known for its hands-on American craft activities, its quilts, and its open fields and working herb and vegetable garden landscape. It is located in the Children's Corner of Prospect Park close to the Carousel and the Zoo, and gives children the opportunity to engage in 18th century farming activities. Families can participate in candlemaking, creating fire from flint and steel, sewing, quilting and even churning butter. When the prospect Park Zoo sheep are shorn in the spring, their fleece is taken over to the nearby Lefferts Homestead, where it's cleaned, carded, spun and woven. On July 4th, 1827, New York State legally abolished slavery and the current Lefferts Historic House celebrated this great historic date by organizing the Freedom Strut, an afternoon of crafts, stories and a children's parade.
#6 - photo supplied by Matthew X. Kiernan - New York Big Apple Images - flickr.com/photos/mateox/3947780512
The Old Stone House / Vechte-Cortelyou House
336 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Public Transportation - Subways - F or the R trains to Fourth Avenue, or the R train to Union Street. Bus - B63 Bus to Third Street and Fifth Avenue
The original Old Stone House was constructed in 1699, by Claes Arentsen Vechte and his son Hendrick Claessen Vechte. The Vechte family harvested oysters in the Gowanus Creek and sold them in Manhattan markets. One branch of the Gowanus Canal ends just several hundred feet away from the Old Stone House, near Third Avenue between 3rd and 6th streets.
At the Battle of Brooklyn during the American Revolutionary War on August 27, 1776, about 2,000 British soldiers took over the house for use as an artillery position. Brigadier General William Alexander (called Lord Stirling) of the Continental Army attacked it five times, and with the help of Colonel William Smallwood's Maryland Brigade, took the house from the British twice that day, but finally lost it to the overwhelming numbers of British soldiers. Lord Stirling and his troops were outnumbered 25 - 1, and he was taken prisoner, but they fought long enough to allow the main body of American troops to escape to better defensive positions at Brooklyn Heights. The Old Stone House and Lord Sterling successfully covered the retreat of the American forces. George Washington was watching the battle at the Old Stone House from a hill near the west end of Atlantic Avenue and exclaimed, "What brave men I must this day lose!"
Lord Stirling was called the bravest man in America after his fight at the Old Stone House. Lord Stirling was promoted to Major General (3rd or 4th in rank below George Washington) after being released by the British in a prisoner exchange for Governor Montfort Browne. Always a heavy drinker he died in Albany from gout on January 15, 1783, just months before the official end of the American Revolutionary War.
The grandson of Claes Arentsen Vechte, Nicholas Vechte lived under the British occupation in the Old Stone House during the American Revolutionary War. Nicholas Vechte died in 1779, and willed it to his grandson Nicholas R. Cowenhoven. Cowenhoven sold the house to Jacques Cortelyou in 1797, who bought it for his son Peter Cortelyou. In 1815, Peter's son Jacques Cortelyou inherited the Old Stone House. Jacques family was the last Cortelyou to live in the Old Stone House. The property was sold to railroad developer, Edwin Litchfield, after Jacques Cortelyou's wife died in 1852.
The hilly land just south of the Old Stone House was purchased in 1838 by H.B. Pierrepont and others to establish America's 3rd rural cemetery, called Green-Wood Cemetery. The eastern side of the Old Stone House including most of the land in Park Slope was bought up by Edwin Litchfield in the late 19th century. Edwin began to drain the marshes to the west of the Old Stone House into the narrow channels of the Gowanus Canal. The Old Stone House remained standing for another 40 years and was temporarily occupied by an African - American caretaker.
The original Old Stone House was uninhabited at the edge of a tidal marsh and in the 1880s was used as a clubhouse for baseball players who played at the Washington Baseball Park and a warming and changing space for local ice skaters. Landfill covered the area and the old house by the end of the 19th century, and row houses filled the surrounding blocks. East of the buried house and north of Green-Wood, Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux designed Prospect Park, Eastern Parkway and Ocean Parkway. In 1898 Brooklyn merged with New York City to form America's largest metropolis.
Between 1897 and 1910, the site of the old house was petitioned to be set aside as a park. The Old Stone House was razed and burned in 1897, and its land was bought by the New York City Parks Department in 1923 and excavated in 1930. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses approved the reconstruction of the Old Stone House in 1934, using unearthed original stones and materials. Half of the Old Stone House was below street level, after 4th Avenue was graded up at the end of the 19th century. The reconstructed Old Stone House was moved slightly and assembled in the center of the newly designated J.J. Byrne Park (formerly Washington Park).
The precursors of the Brooklyn Dodgers first played in the Park between 3rd and 4th streets off 5th Avenue where the Old Stone House was reconstructed. They got their name from their ability to dodge all the trolleys that once ran along Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn. Fifth Avenue was first called the Gowanus Road when it led from Fulton Landing and the Narrows. The Old Stone House served as the original clubhouse for the team that would become the Brooklyn Dodgers (first called the Brooklyn Baseball Club, then the Brooklyn Superbas). The first home game of the Brooklyn Baseball Club was on Saturday, May 12, 1883. The Old Stone House was used as their clubhouse from 1883-1891 and again from 1898-1912. The Dodgers moved to Ebbets Field in 1913. A wall from the original Washington Park can still be seen on Third Avenue between Third and Fourth streets.
The current historic interpretive center is a modern reconstruction of the original Vechte-Cortelyou House, which was originally built beneath the hills of Park Slope. The Old Stone House underwent restoration in the 1970s and in the 1990s. The Old Stone House Historic Interpretive Center teaches the evolving histories of Brooklyn, New York and America by highlighting Brooklyn's role in the American Revolution through educational programs and historical based events and exhibits. The historic house is operated by a nonprofit corporation, the Old Stone House of Brooklyn (OSH).
#7 - photo supplied by Peter Borghard - rafterman_ - flickr.com/photos/peatpunk/4160165549
Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House Museum
5816 Clarendon Road at Ralph Avenue, M. Fidler/Wyckoff House Park, Brooklyn, NY 11203
Hours - Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holiday Closings - Closed Sundays too from November 1st through April 30th
Fees - Adults: $5.00, Seniors and Students: $3.00, Children (10 and under) and members: free
Public Transportation - Subways - #2 or #5 trains to Newkirk Avenue station, take B8 bus east toward Brookdale Hospital get off at Beverly Road & East 59th Street, walk 1 block south on East 59th to the south side of Clarendon Road; B or Q trains to Newkirk Avenue station take B8 bus eastbound (Brookdale Hospital) on Foster Avenue; take B8 east to Beverly Rd. & E.59 Street, walk 1 block south to Clarendon Road; Buses - B47 to Ralph Ave & Clarendon Road; B7 to Kings Highway & Clarendon Road; or B8 to Beverly Rd. & E.59 Street
The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House, originally a Dutch West India Company bowerie (farm) on the land of Wouter van Twiller, was one of the first structures built by Europeans on Long Island. The original smaller portion on its right hand side was built in 1652, making it the oldest surviving building and structure in New York City. The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House is the oldest surviving example of a Dutch saltbox frame house in America, and one of the oldest wooden structures that is still standing in this country. The left side of the house was enlarged in 1740 and 1819 and was built in a Dutch Colonial vernacular style with a H-frame structure, rounded shingled white oak walls, hand-hewn oak rafters in its attic, split Dutch doors, and deep, flared eaves. The original house was only three-fifth the depth of the present home.
Pieter Claesen was born in Norden, Germany, and emigrated from Amsterdam, Holland, he landed in NYC on April 7, 1637, and was employed as an indentured servant to Kilian van Rensselaer in Albany. His connections to governor-general Peter Stuyvesant (he was the superintendent to Stuyvesant's farm and cattle) led him to acquire the first section of farmland in 1652. Pieter and his wife Grietje Cornelis (Van Ness) Wyckoff moved into the Dutch Bowerie farmhouse in 1655. Pieter Claesen kept buying real estate to enlarge his small farm until he was the richest man in Amersfoort. In 1687, he adopted the surname, Wyckoff, Wyc translates to the word justice or magistrate and Hof translates to the word court in Dutch. Pieter Claesen Wyckoff died in 1694, and was buried under the Flatlands Dutch Reformed Church on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and the Kings Highway in Brooklyn. Generations of Wyckoff's lived in this one-story house originally built on a rise on Canarsie Lane in Flatlands (now called Flatbush), Brooklyn and farmed the land until 1901.
During the Revolutionary War, Pieter Claesen Wyckoff's great great grandson, Pieter A. Wyckoff and his wife Heyltie Remsen lived there with their three children and slaves.
The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1934. In 1968, it became the first landmark designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission upon its creation in 1965. In 1969, the Wyckoff family donated the house to NYC, who restored it and opened the historic home as a Museum in 1982. This National Historic Landmark is currently owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House is now six feet below the grade of the Clarendon Road, and is situated in Milton Fidler Park. Tours are at 1PM and 3 PM when open.
#8- photo supplied by wiki - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendrick_I._Lott_House
Hendrick I. Lott House
1940 East 36th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11234
Hours - The inside of the Lott House is currently closed to the public
Holiday Closings - Currently closed to the public
Public Transportation - Subways - B or Q train to Kings Highway, then transfer to brooklyn bus #B100 (towards Mill Basin) or the B2, get off bus at Fillmore Ave & E 34th Street, walk to E 35th street turn right
In 1652, the Lotts, a family of French Huguenots who emigrated from Drenten, Holland, and started buying land in the town of Flatlands (now Flatbush). Flatlands was once the second largest agricultural producer in the region, second only to Queens County. Engelbart Lott with his two sons Pieter (born in 1626) and Engelbartsen "Bartel" (born about 1630) established the first Lott family in America.
Pieter Lott married Gertrude Lamberts and had nine children. One of Pieter's sons was Hendrick Pieterse Lott, (born May 10, 1654). In 1684, Hendrick married Catrina DeWitt (born May 7, 1654) they had eight children, one son was named Johannes Lott.
Johannes Lott (born May 11, 1692) in 1720, Johannes bought a 200-acre farm from Coert Voorhies that ran from south of Kings Highway to what was called Lott's Landing on Jamaica Bay. In the center of this large active farm that grew potatoes, cabbage, wheat, and vegetables, Johannes Lott built a homestead (that was just east of the present house). Johannes was a member of the New York Colonial Assembly from 1727 until 1747. In 1775, Johannes died, leaving the homestead to Johannes E. Lott, who lived there until 1792. Johannes E. Lott, married Jannetje Probasco (born January 24, 1721) on April 26, 1745, they had four sons and four daughters. Hendrick I. Lott was born October 3, 1760, in Flatlands. Johannes E Lott died on January 25, 1792, and the house passed to their four sons Christopher, Hendrick I., Johannes I and Jurien.
In 1800, Johannes Lott's grandson, and Johannes E Lott's son Hendrick I Lott obtained his brother's shares of the estate. Hendrick I Lott married Mary Brownjohn in 1792 and constructed the rest of the current 18 room house in a Dutch Colonial architectural style. Instead of abandoning his grandfathers old house entirely he moved the kitchen of the old home to become its eastern wing. By 1825, some barns and a separate stone kitchen was added between the current house and East 36th street (the Brooklyn College Archaeological Research Center excavated the stone kitchen's foundation in 1998).
The Lotts lived in the house for nearly 300 years. They freed their slaves two decades before New York abolished slavery. The last farmer in the Lott family, John Bennett Lott, died in 1923. The majority of his land was sold, leaving only three-quarters of an acre surrounding the current house. When Ella Lott Suydam, the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Johannes Lott died in 1989, the generations of Lott's that lived in the house ended. There were no more male heirs to carry on the family name, and Catherine Lott still dwells in her family history and deals with the archaeologists. She doesn't live in the historic Lott house.
In 2001 or 2002, Ella Lott Suydam's estate sold the Lott House and property to the City of New York. The Hendrick I. Lott House is one of 14 remaining Dutch Colonial farmhouses in Kings County (Brooklyn). It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a New York City Landmark.
A joint effort of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Historic House Trust of New York City, Marine Park Civic Association, and Hendrick I. Lott House Preservation Association is restoring the Hendrick I. Lott House. Public programs will be added once the property in acquired by NYC and mapped as a parkland.
#9 - photo supplied by Trish Mayo - flickr.com/photos/obsessivephotography/372612216
Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
4881 Broadway at 204th Street, New York, NY 10034
Hours - Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11am - 4pm, Sundays from 12 - 4pm
Holiday Closings - Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, also closed Easter Sunday, July 4th
Fees - Admission to the museum is $1 for adults and free for children under 10. Additional donations are always appreciated
Public Transportation - Subways - A or 1 trains to 207th Street, walk south on Broadway to 204th Street, on hill on nw corner
Jan Dyckman first arrived in New Amsterdam in the 1660s, started buying land, and put the first homestead around 210th Street and the Harlem River. Jan Dyckman's grandson, William Dyckman inherited the land and the old family homestead around the time of the Revolutionary War. William and his wife Mary supported the American cause and had to flee to upstate New York. After the war was over William discovered the family home was totally destroyed, the forests barren of trees, the family farm fields left in ruin.
The current Dyckman Farmhouse was built in 1784 by William Dyckman. The Dutch Colonial styled farmhouse was built further inland on a more southern part of the 250 acres of farmland of the estate of his grandfather (in what is Inwood today). The newly re-routed Kingsbridge Road (today's Broadway) made a perfect location for his small two-story fieldstone farmhouse with a simple brick facade, and surrounded by orchards of apple, pear and cherry trees. William replanted the crops and started working the farm from scratch.
Jacobus Dyckman (William's son) took over the farm in the 1790s. Jacobus'two bachelor sons, Isaac and Michael,. They inherited the farmhouse when Jacobus died in 1832. They moved away by the 1850s, ending the legacy of the Dyckman family home. Isaac died in 1868, and Michael inherited the estate which he sold in the 1870s, which turned the house into a rental property for a few decades. By the beginning of the 20th century, the Dyckman Farmhouse was falling apart as the rural element of the neighborhood was changing.
The daughters of Isaac and Michael, Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, decided to buy and restore the farmhouse in 1915. The daughters worked with their husbands and got extra help from architect Alexander McMillan Welch and curator Bashford Dean. The family gifted the restored farmhouse and its grounds to the City of New York in 1916, and the Dyckman Farmhouse finally became open to the public. It included a reproduction of the original fieldstone smokehouse as well as a reconstructed Hessian Hut.
The Dyckman Farmhouse is now the last remaining Dutch Colonial style farmhouse in Manhattan, it still has the double doors, sloping spring eaves, and its gambrel roof. The farmhouse is a national and New York City Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.
The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum features events from education programs, children's crafts to music concerts on its wide back porch overlooking the backyard garden. The interior of parts of the house are open to self guided tours. Rooms feature the Dyckman's actual furniture that they owned during the Revolutionary War, and a fully equipped winter kitchen in the basement with a giant fireplace and a timbered ceiling. Other exhibited relics include quilts, torn flags, cannonballs, weapons and Revolutionary War uniforms.
The Relic Room is full of items from Native Americas, Dutch Colonial farmers, Revolutionary War soldiers and other early inhabitants of early Inwood and Washington Heights residents. These relics were pulled from the 5,000 items discovered from digs done by two amateur archaeologists, Reginald Pelham Bolton and William Calver. These relic hunters were afraid that the construction of subways would destroy the area's hidden past.
#10 - photo supplied by Jim Naureckas - edenpictures - flickr.com/photos/edenpictures/3666227753
88 E End Avenue, New York, NY 10028-8024
(212) 570-4773, (212) 570-4751
Hours - Public tours are given on Wednesdays only, from March to mid-November, at 10 & 11am and 1 & 2pm
Holiday Closings - Closed most holidays
Fees - Adults $7.00, Seniors $4.00, Children and Students Free
Public Transportation - Subways - #4, #5 or #6 trains to 86th street, walk east to East End Avenue, turn left 2 blocks Mansion in Park
Before Gracie Mansion was built, the 1770 country residence of the Flatbush merchant Jacob Walton called Belvue Mansion was roughly on the same site. Because it strategically overlooked Hell Gate (where the Harlem River, East River, and Long Island Sound meet), and featured a secret escape tunnel from the house to the East River shore. Belvue Mansion was seized and commandeered by George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. American troops put up a fort on the Walton lawn with a series of cannons facing the East River to guard the waterways. The British destroyed this house on September 8, 1776, during the Revolutionary War, even though it was owned by a British Loyalist. In 1798, the heirs of the Walton family reclaimed the property and sold it for $5,625 to Scottish immigrant, Archibald Gracie.
In 1799, Archibald Gracie built this two-story wooden mansion from his acquired wealth after founding a successful trading company. Gracie used the Federal architectural styled mansion as his country home and enlarged it between 1810 and 1811. The patent-yellow parlor is part of those additions to the mansion, which provided the Gracie family with more room in which to entertain their party guests. Gracie hosted elegant dinner parties at this country estate for his visitors which included Alexander Hamilton, John Quincy Adams, James Fenimore Cooper, Rufus King, Joseph Bonaparte, Marquis de Lafayette and Washington Irving.
The design of the structure is attributed to Ezra Weeks, a prominent builder and/or John McComb, Jr., the architect of New York City Hall and Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton's country home in Harlem, New York. Archibald Gracie had to sell the mansion after his debts during shipping embargoes War of 1812, became out of control.
Archibald Gracie sold Gracie Mansion to Joseph Foulke, in 1857, Gracie Mansion was bought by Noah Wheaton. After Wheaton's death in 1896, the City of New York appropriated the 11-acre estate by condemnation which became much of the new East End Park (subsequently renamed Carl Schurz Park). Years of overuse by the Parks Department as a public building, made it serve various functions, it housed public restrooms, an ice-cream stand, and classrooms for teaching immigrants English and carpentry.
Gracie Mansion became home to the Museum of the City of New York in 1923, making it America's first city museum. In 1932, the Museum of the City of New York left East End Park for its present location on Upper Fifth avenue and 103rd street.
In 1942, Robert Moses successfully convinced mayor Fiorello La Guardia and City authorities to appropriate the house as a mayoral residence. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and family reluctantly moved in, and the mansion has served as the official residence for the City's mayor ever since. Fiorello LaGuardia read comic strips over the radio to NTC children from the Gracie Mansion dining room.
Mayor Robert Wagner's wife Susan initiated plans for a new west wing, completed in 1966, but Susan died in 1964. The Susan E. Wagner Wing was named in her honor, which added a ballroom and two other additional rooms. The Gracie Mansion Conservancy, established by Mayor Ed Koch, restored portions of the building between 1981 and 1984, and made further restorations again in 2002.
Its elegant interior, furnishings, and art reflect New York's illustrious history. The Mansion's main floor is open to the public on a limited basis and is a showcase for art and antiques created by New York designers, cabinetmakers, painters and sculptors.
Gracie Mansion is owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, operated by the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
#11 - photo supplied by Max Tuta Noronha - flickr.com/photos/max_tuta/3273507718
Little Red Lighthouse
Riverside Dr & W 181st Street, Manhattan, New York, NY 10033
Hours - Closed to public except for scheduled tours offered on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day thru Labor Day
Holiday Closings - Inside closed Labor Day to Memorial Day
Public Transportation - Subways - A train to 181st Street, walk west over the West Side Highway on the footbridge at 181st Street follow walkway under the George Washington Bridge
Manhattan's only lighthouse, the Little Red Lighthouse has sat on Jeffreys Hook since 1921, on the eastern pier of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Washington Park. Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse can be easily accessed by walking north through Riverside Park and Riverbank State Park or down a rather steep footpath just north of the bridge.
The Little Red Lighthouse was originally erected in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, in 1880, it was first called the North Hook Beacon. In 1917, the 40-ft. spark plug lighthouse was dismantled and moved four years later to Jeffreys Hook where the George Washington Bridge would be built over between 1927 and 1931. The lighthouse operated until 1947, when the Coast Guard decided to extinguish its lamp because its function was no longer needed due to the bridges bright lights. It was decommissioned and plans were made to auction it off before those plans were overturned by the power of the people.
The Little Red Lighthouse is a New York City landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours by the Urban Park Rangers are infrequent but are offered spring through fall. The best time to enter the structure is during the Little Red Lighthouse Festival day in mid-September. It can also be usually accessed during America's largest architect and design event called the Open House New York weekend in October (usually the first or second weekend).
Hildegarde H. Swift's children's book Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge was first published in 1942. The book shows that being small can still be important in this story of the building of NYC's George Washington Bridge. The book starts off with the Little Red Lighthouse doing its job warning boats, a man comes by before each night to switch on its light and sometimes its fog bell. When the George Washington Bridge was built. The lighthouse feels small and unimportant sitting underneath such a large useful structure. Eventually a light on the bridge took over the lighthouses main function, warning people by blinking on and off. The lighthouse becomes convinced that it doesn't have a function anymore, and is no longer needed. One foggy rainy night the lighthouse keeper doesn't show up, and the Little Red Lighthouse fears his time is indeed over. A tugboat that couldn't see the light high atop the bridge crashes into the rocks, which makes the bridge tell the sad lighthouse, Each to his own place. After that kind comment, the Little Red Lighthouse feels needed and gladly realizes that it has a job to do.
The number of shipwrecks at Jeffrey's Hook grew larger with the amount of traffic the Hudson River received. Jeffrey's Point went a third of the way into Hudson River forming what was once called Stryker's Bay. The first remedy to reduce the number of accidents at this treacherous section was the installing of a red pole. In 1889, two lanterns were added to the pole to make it more visible at night.
The Old Fort Washington stood on the highest point in Manhattan, 270 feet above tide water, on the summit of Mount Washington which extended from 181st St. to 184th. By 1896, NYC acquired the shoreline that was to become known as Fort Washington Park. Complaints from barge captains that a brighter light was needed were finally heard in 1921, when the dismantled Sandy Hook lighthouse was reconstructed on Jeffreys Hook to better navigate the Hudson River. The Little Red Lighthouse flashed a red signal every three seconds at night and its old warning bell rang every 15 seconds.
On May 29, 1979, the Little Red Lighthouse became part of the National Register of Historic Places, and is a member of the nonprofit Historic House Trust, which works with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. As a result of the public outcry, and the pennies of many children, the Little Red Lighthouse was saved after it was threatened with extinction in 1947. Its beacon light was finally reactivated on September 19th, 2002.
#12 - photo supplied by Michelle Enemark - Curious Expeditions - flickr.com/photos/curiousexpeditions/2354316677
Merchant's House Museum
29 East Fourth Street New York, NY 10003-7003
Hours - Open 12 to 5 p.m., Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Holiday Closings - Closed Tuesday & Wednesday and Easter Sunday, Independence Day (July 4), Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas Day (December 25), and New Year's Eve (December 31)
Fees - General - $8 , Students & Over 65 - $5 , Members and children under 12 accompanied by an adult - Free
Public Transportation - Subways N or R to Eighth Street, #6 to Astor Place, or F, B to Broadway/Lafayette, walk north up Lafayette to East 4th street turn right; Buses - M5 or M6 to Broadway/4th Street, walk north to East 4th, or M103 to East 4th Street, or M1 to Broadway and 8th Street, walk south to East 4th street
The Merchant's House offers an intimate look, feel and even smell of New York City's upper class life, three decades before the Civil War. The Merchant's House is NYC's only family home preserved intact, both inside and out. Out of NYC's 300 Federal houses, the Merchant House is the only one that contains original family furnishings. This elegant late-Federal and Greek Revival 3-story rowhouse that was built in 1832, was home to a wealthy merchant family from 1835 to 1933.
This brick townhouse was once part of a row of six designed by Minard Lafever (who also designed Sailors' Snug Harbor, St Ann's, and the Holy Trinity Church, and Sag Harbor's First Presbyterian Church). This historically significant landmark was built by Joseph Brewster, who lived in #29 before it was sold for $18,000 to Seabury and Eliza Tredwell in 1835. Seabury, an upperclass wealthy importer ,died in 1865, but the seven children family lived in the family home until 1936. Gertrude Tredwell, Seabury's daughter was born in 1840, and lived in the house until she died alone in 1933, in an upstairs bedroom. Gertrude Tredwell was the main person responsible for preserving most of the Tredwell household possessions.
Over 3,000 items fill the eight period rooms of original furnishings in the Merchant's House Museum. Just walking on its pine floorboards or gazing up at the molded ceilings with plaster ceiling medallions, sends you back into NYC's past. The most historical significant collections include cabinets and chairs from the famous Joseph Meeks and Duncan Phyfe (one suite alone contains 12 side chairs that are attributed to Duncan Phyfe).
Eight period rooms and three floors of the house that are full of its original household possessions are available for public viewing. The ground floor features a pair of 1852 matching gas chandeliers, and the family dining room is full of glass, chinaware and its original mahogany dining table. The fully equipped kitchen is rare and intimate glimpse of 19th century old style eating. The parlor floor of the Merchant's House Museum is full of original decorative objects, books, paintings and personal memorabilia, that gives you a feel for domestic life in old NYC. Only its red silk draperies are just reproductions. The upstairs bedroom floor has closets full of the Tredwell women's 40 dresses, men's and boys' 19th century clothing and countless fashion accessories. You can't touch, but guests are allowed to peek inside the closets. The 19th-century secret rear garden is also open for viewing, but the attic and basement are not open to the public.
Gertrude and her five sisters and two brothers lived in this red brick and white marble rowhouse with their parents and many relatives, along with four live-in servants. After Gertrude died, a distant cousin, George Chapman, purchased the historic house, saving it from foreclosure and demolition and opened this document of its period to the public as a museum in 1936.
The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Merchant House has been awarded landmark status in New York City as well for its interiors and exterior.
The mission of the Merchant's House Museum is to educate the public to NYC's prosperous past as the center of U.S. commerce in an era that transformed from a raw colonial seaport into a thriving metropolis.
The caretakers deny that any ghosts haunt the historic house, but come to the museum's annual 19th-century Holiday Party and taste the spirits. The Museum offers public education programs for adults, including tours, exhibitions, walking tours, lectures, readings, performances, concerts, and other events throughout the year.
#13 - photo supplied by dockdrumming - flickr.com/photos/dockphotos/3722559652
65 Jumel Terrace at 160th Street, Roger Morris Park, New York, NY 10032
Hours - Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Holiday Closings - Monday and Tuesday for groups only by appointment, Closed New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
Fees - Adults $4.00, Seniors and Students $3.00, Children under 12 Free, Guided tours Saturdays at 12:00 noon, cost $6.00 for adults and $4.50 for seniors and students
Public Transportation - Subway - C train to 163rd Street. Exit south-east end of train station. Walk past C-Town grocery store go up stone stairwell on the left (east) side of St. Nicolas Avenue, go to end of Sylvan Terrace; Buses - M3 or M18 (Madison Ave.) to 160th and St. Nicholas Avenue, walk 1/2 block east to Jumel Terrace, or M101 (Third Ave.) to 161st and Amsterdam Avenue, walk one block south to West 160th Street and two short blocks to Jumel Terrace.
British Colonel Roger Morris and his rich American Tory wife, Mary Philipse, built the Palladian styled Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan's oldest house. Eleven years before the Revolutionary War, in 1765, their 8,500-sq.-ft. summer mansion was built on Harlem Heights on a breezy hilltop by John Edward Pryor, and they called their new mansion Mount Morris. The Morris's bought the land from Jacob and Yantie Dyckman with money from funds from Mary Philipse's dowry in 1758. The second story balcony of the Morris's country home overlooked its 130 acres stretching from the Hudson to Harlem rivers. When the Americans won the Revolutionary War, the Morrises hightailed it back to England.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion's strategic panoramic views of the Harlem River, the Bronx, and Long Island Sound to the east, NYC and its harbor to the south, and the Hudson River and Jersey Palisades to the west, made it the ideal headquarters to General Washington. George Washington slept (and worked) here between September 14th and October 20th of 1776, after his army were forced to evacuate Brooklyn Heights, and before he forced a British retreat at the Battle of Harlem Heights. Washington once courted Mary Philipse, but she decided to marry Roger Morris.
Roger Morris before he moved into the uptown mansion 10 to 12 miles north of what was once NYC, lived downtown at 28 Whitehall street on the SW corner of Stone Street where he bought a house in 1763.
The top British and Hessian military leaders (British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, and the Hessian commander Baron Wilhelm von Knyphausen) took over the Morris-Jumel Mansion after George Washington left NYC, making it the headquarters for both sides of the Revolutionary War.
President Washington returned to his Harlem headquarters on July 10, 1790, and dined with members of his cabinet in the mansion's dining room. Famous guests around the table included John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Alexander Hamilton and wife, Henry Knox and wife.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion's two-story octagonal drawing room, called the withdrawing room, was an addition to the original building where the social parties were held. It was believed to be the first octagonal room in America. The Octagon Parlor was used as the court martial room by George Washington. The basement of the Morris-Jumel Mansion houses a 20-by-30-foot colonial-era kitchen featuring the original hearth and a beehive oven as well as a collection of early American cooking pots and utensils.
After the Revolutionary War in 1787, the Morris-Jumel Mansion was confiscated by the American Government and became Calumet Hall, an inn and roadhouse tavern for weary travelers bound for and leaving NYC on the Albany Post Road. Calumet Hall, kept by Mr. Tahnage Hall, was the first stop from NYC to Albany where the horses were changed.
French emigrant Stephen Jumel who, a wealthy wine and coffee merchant, and his wife Eliza (called Betsey) Bowen of Rhode Island were married on April 9th, 1804 at the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, just north of Prince Street. In 1810, they purchased, refurbished and restored the Morris-Jumel Mansion. They may have entertained guests like Joseph Bonaparte, Jean Moreau, Dewitt Clinton, and Thomas Jefferson. The Jumel's furnished the house in a French Empire style with many paintings, antique furniture and a bed in Eliza Jumel's bedroom that she claimed was once used by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte when he was First Consul. The Jumel's were sympathetic to Napoleon and allegedly offered safe passage to bring him back to America after the Battle of Waterloo. In 1915, the Jumels sailed to France and spent time mixing with aristocrats, including Napoleon (according to Eliza's stories). Eliza was exiled from France in 1816, by Louis XVIII as a result of her Napoleonic sympathies. Rumors spread that Eliza while a gal in Rhode Island may have been a prostitute, which could explain why she was constantly rejected by NYC society types.
Eliza came back to NYC in May 1826 with the power of attorney over Stephen's assets (granted May 15th, 1826) so she could sell his real estate and bring back the money, but instead of selling the Morris-Jumel Mansion, she started selling off Stephen's other business holdings leaving him penniless. She used all this money to try to buy her way into NYC high society. Stephen stayed in France with no intention in returning to America and may have been informed at that time about her red light past while he watched his fortune vanish. Stephen returned to NYC in the summer of 1828, and stayed alone on Liberty Street.
In May 1832, Stephen Jumel died a mysterious death from injuries he received falling off a haywagon on the King's Bridge Road. Stephen Jumel was buried in a squalid quarter of NYC, at the old St. Patrick's Catholic cemetery between Mott and Mulberry, just north of Prince Street in lower Manhattan. His neglected grave was in front of the iron gate on the north side of the Mott street side of the cemetery. Reports of ghostly haunts at the Morris-Jumel Mansion started right after Stephen Jumel died.
On July 1st, 1833, Eliza, then one of the wealthiest women in New York, married the controversial former U.S. Vice President, Aaron Burr, in the mansion's parlor, 14 months after her husband Stephen Jumel's death. Aaron Burr lived there only briefly, misused what was left of the Jumel bank account, and they divorced quickly. Aaron Burr's old desk is still exhibited at the historic mansion. The divorce was finalized on September 14th, 1836, the day that Burr died. Eliza roamed around the unkept mansion in insane seclusion with one servant, and retained ownership of the famous mansion until she died on July 16th, 1865, in the Washington Bedroom. She was buried with the society types she yearned to live with in the stately Jumel tomb in the Trinity Church Cemetery overlooking the Hudson River. The heirs of the estate split up its property and sold its 115 acres into 1,058 separate lots.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion and property was sold in 1887 by the Jumel heirs to Mr. Seth Milliken for $100,000. Seven years later in 1894, Mr Milliken sold the Morris-Jumel Mansion to General Ferdinand P. Earle and his wife Lillie Earle for $100,000, but with only one-fifth of the property he bought from Seth Milliken. When General Earle died his widow decided to preserve it as a monument to the nation's past. Patriotic societies persuaded the City of New York to purchase the Morris-Jumel Mansion and what was left of its property. The Morris-Jumel Mansion had its final sale on July 29th, 1903, by the widow of General Earle for $235,000 to the City of New York.
The three years between the NYC purchase (1903) and its opening as a museum (1906), it stood neglected without repairs, remaining only in the care of a single watchman. The green wallpaper in the great drawing room was torn off in small pieces and carried away as souvenirs by visitors, after three years only two complete panels were left and put under glass. In 1904, the Washington's Headquarters Association, was formed by four chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (the Washington Heights, the Mary Washington Colonial, the Knickerbocker, and the Manhattan Chapters).
Three years after General Earle's widow sold the Morris-Jumel Mansion to NYC, the Washington Heights Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution took control of the Morris-Jumel Mansion from the Park Department for use as a Revolutionary museum. In 1906, a mere $12,000 was appropriated by NYC for repairs and restoration. The biggest mistake was that the great drawing room was upholstered with yellow satin instead of restoring it with green colonial wallpaper. In 1906, the Washington's Headquarters Association finally opened the Morris-Jumel Mansion to the public, operating it as a historic museum, which they called Washingtons Headquarters.
Today, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Inc., an independent nonprofit corporation operates this famous museum that features restored period rooms from the Morris, Washington, and Jumel eras. Tours concentrate on the Colonial, Revolutionary War, and 19th Century periods and look at the house in its many capacities as a home and a headquarters. The Morris-Jumel Mansion was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961, it is owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
#14 - photo supplied by Mark - firstname.lastname@example.org - Sparks68 - flickr.com/photos/sparks68/3083584462
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
79th Street and West Drive, Central Park, NY, NY 10023
Hours - Tuesday - Sunday in June - October, Tuesday through Friday: 10:30 AM & 12:00 Noon, Wednesday: 2:30 PM too, Saturday & Sunday: 1:00 PM only July - August
Holiday Closings - Closed some holidays, call for information
Fees - Adults: $8.00 Children: $5.00, Reservations are required
Public Transportation - Subways - B/C to 81st Street (Museum of Nature History), enter park head south on West drive for approx. 2 blocks; Bus - M79 to Central Park West
Sweden's traditional schoolhouse exhibit for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia was imported to the U.S. The New York City Board of Commissioners purchased it after the Exhibition for $1,500. In 1876. Fredrick Law Olmsted, brought The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre to Central Park in 1877. Under the leadership of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, the Cottage started in 1947, under the direction of City Parks Foundation, to serve as the home of a marionette theater troupe that traveled across the city performing on playgrounds and school auditoriums.
This Central Park theatre was first used as a tool shed, then it was converted into library, but was soon changed into a lunchroom and restrooms. The building then became Central Park's entomological laboratory only to become the district headquarters for the Civil Defense during WWII. In 1947, the structure became the headquarters of the Parks Department's Traveling Marionette Theatre, and in 1973, it was remodeled to include a permanent stage. In 1997, the interior and exterior of the building had a complete restoration. Today visitors can enjoy the whimsical Scandinavian details inside the theater, along with seating for 100 children, central air conditioning, and a larger, state-of-the-art stage for more sophisticated productions. The original Baltic fir exterior was completely refurbished and details such as the second floor balcony were reconstructed.
The Marionette Theater at the Swedish Cottage is one of the most enchanting and memorable experiences a child can have in Central Park.
#15 - photo supplied by Michael L. Dorn - Edu-Tourist - flickr.com/photos/mdorn/3975999072
King Manor Museum
King Park 150-03 Jamaica Avenue Jamaica, NY 11432
Hours - February - December on Thursdays & Fridays, 12pm - 2pm, and Saturdays & Sundays, 1pm - 5pm
Holiday Closings - Monday - Wednesday by appointment only, closed most holidays; Guided tours in January open to school and group tours only
Fees - Adults $5; Seniors & Students $3; Children (4-13) $2; family (up to 2 adults & 3 children) $12; under 4 and museum members free Public Transportation - Subways - E, J, Z trains to Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer, walk 1 block north; F train to Parsons Blvd., walk two blocks south; Buses - Q24, Q42, Q43, Q44, Q54, Q56, or Q83 to downtown Jamaica
The country home and farm of Founding Father Rufus King (1755-1827) was called the King Manor. King was a Senator from New York known for his early antislavery stance. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a representative in the Confederation Congress. Rufus King was also one of the authors, framers and signers of the United States Constitution.
In 1805, when Rufus King came back to NYC after seven and a half years as Ambassador to Great Britain, he purchased the 18th century Smith farmhouse and 90 acres of land. King and his wife immediately expanded the manor, adding several rooms to the structure enlarging its working farm by buying another 32 acres, and landscaping the entire estate, creating the 122 acre Federalist-style King Manor. Rufus King and his wife lived in this three-story yellow manor for the next 22 years. The Village of Jamaica was incorporated in 1814.
In 1820, Rufus King delivered two of the most radical speeches ever heard in the Senate before the Civil War. His opposition to admitting of the slave state Missouri to the Union started his long antislavery career. Rufus King refused to own slaves and was one of the first brave official of American politics to speak out against slavery.
After his death in 1827, his son, John Alsop King, followed his father's footsteps into politics, serving as a Congressman and the Governor of the State of New York in 1856. (John Alsop King was one of only two New York governors to come from Queens County). John Alsop King lived in the King Manor and made further improvements by adding its Greek-Revival exterior details, like the handsome columned portico and entranceway. The King Manor was home to Rufus King's heirs until 1896, when it was purchased by the Village of Jamaica. In 1898, King Manor was transferred to NYC who made it the centerpiece of an 11-acre historic park in downtown Jamaica, Queens, where it currently sits on the corner of the Park named for King. King Manor has been open to the public as a museum since 1900.
Jamaica Avenue was an ancient trail for Native American tribes who journeyed from hundreds of miles away to trade furs and skins for Long Island seawant (oblong purple beads made from quahog clam shells found only on Long Island beaches) that they turned into wampum belts, necklaces and art. Governor Peter Stuyvesant dubbed the Jamaica area Rustdorp, when the British took over in 1664, they called it Jameco (the Carnarsie Indian word for Beaver). Jamaica Avenue the one-time Indian trail was widened by the Hempstead settlers and called the Ferry Road, which connected into Fulton Street in Brooklyn. This road became the old King's Highway, and in 1886, it became the first road in the state to have electrified mass transit tracks. In 1898, Queens was incorporated into NYC.
Guided tours and educational programs use interactive exhibits in its 18th and 19th century period rooms. Historic programs focus on the roles of Rufus and John Alsop King as forerunners of the early antislavery movement. Other programs highlight their lives and the work they did while living at the King Manor during the 19th-century. This preserved home features a half-hour tour through history where visitors are taken around the house from the servants quarters to its rounded dining room.
King Manor Museum is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the King Manor Association of L.I., Inc., and is a member of the Historic House Trust. King Manor is also an established site on the Heritage New York Underground Railroad Heritage Trail.
#16 - photo supplied by Rita - flickr.com/photos/inkfeather/53180394
143-35 37th Avenue, Weeping Beech Park/Carman Green, Queens NY 11354
(718) 939-0647, (718) 206-0545
Hours - Monday to Friday - 11 am to 3 pm, Saturday-Sunday - 2:30 - 4:30
Holiday Closings - Closed most holidays
Fees - Adults - $3 , Students/Seniors - $2
Public Transportation - Subway: #7 train to last stop, (Main Street), Walk two blocks east on Roosevelt Avenue to Bowne Street, turn left, walk to and thru Margaret Carman Green Park, first house on left; Buses - Q13 or Q28 to Parsons & Northern Blvds. Q12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 26, 27, 28, 44, 48, 65, 66, to Main Street
Queens' only museum of history, the Kingsland Homestead, is the second oldest house in Queens. It's located in the two-acre Weeping Beech Park named for the landmark Weeping Beech tree originally planted in 1847. The two and a half story Kingsland Homestead was built in 1785 by a Flushing native named Charles Doughty. Its original site was at 155th Street and Northern Boulevard. Charles Doughty was the son of Benjamin Doughty, a wealthy Quaker who first owned land on the old turnpike in Flushing.
The Kingsland Homestead first acquired its name from Charles Doughty's son-in-law, British sea captain Joseph King, who bought the home in 1801. Captain Joseph King joined the two parlors with passageways, and within these new passageways, he constructed additional pantry space. Before they were joined the only way to get from one parlor to the other was to walk through the main hall. The last of Doughty's descendants to reside in the house (until 1937) were the Murrays, who occupied the Kingsland Homestead for 80 years. Manhattan's Murray Hill was named after these Murrays from Queens.
This gambrel-roofed vernacular frame shingle house combined the English and Dutch architectural styles. Its gambrel roof allows the house to be both tall and wide, resulting in a fully useable attic space and a properly supported chimney. The Kingsland Homestead is a perfect example of the Long Island Half House that became very common during the post-Colonial period. The Half House typically employs space saving devices and compact features like a central chimney, a dependent kitchen wing, a central side hall and three front windows instead of the usual five. The Kingsland Homestead has a crescent-shaped window in a side gable, and also retains an early whitewash finish within the closet area. It was originally sheathed with flush boarding and clapboards. The flush boarding of the Kingsland Homestead is still visible on the main story of the front facade, whereas the original facing on the side and back are concealed beneath wood shingles placed by Captain Joseph King in 1808.
A subway extension threatened to destroy the Kingsland Homestead in 1923, and it was moved from its original foundations on 155th Street and Northern Boulevard. In 1968, new construction endangered the Kingsland Homestead this time so the Kingsland Preservation Committee moved Kingsland Homestead once again to its present site, on the edge of Weeping Beech Park. In 1968, the Queens Historical Society was formed by a 19-year-old Queens College student named Abram Wolfson who decided to start a society to help preserve the rich history of the borough. Abram Wolfson's Queens Historical Society opened their headquarters in the Kingsland Homestead in 1968. Since 1973, the Kingsland Homestead has been open to the public featuring special exhibits staged by the Queens Historical Society.
The late 18th century Kingsland Homestead still has its largely intact original chimney, a centrally located chimney allowing for fireplaces in each parlor. The fireplace in the front parlor is a Federal period piece attributed to early King family ownership. The Federal period chimney piece in the back parlor of the Kingsland Homestead is installed with an iron Franklin stove (named after Benjamin Franklin its inventor in 1747) and is marked George Youle New York. The Franklin stove came in many shapes but it was always made of cast iron; it was installed in 1812 and cost $26. This Franklin stove has a built-in cold air box and a flue designed to heat air in the chamber at the back of the fireplace, which in the Kingsland Homesteads case is in its front parlor.
The back hall door of the Kingsland Homestead also has a split Dutch Door. It is comparable in size and finish to its front door. The door still retains the fielded panel joiner and original hardware it was built with. Dutch doors were utilitarian rather than decorative in nature. During the day the bottom of the Dutch doors would remain shut, allowing the air and sunlight to come in. It also kept the farm animals out and kept any small children safe within the home. An inoperable four light transom surmounts the doorway. The back door of its wing is of the batten type with a typical Suffolk latch. The staircase steps and supporting carriage of the Kingsland Homestead are of 18th century construction except for some repair to the railing and balusters. The bottom steps and landing of its staircase was also reconstructed. The fireplace itself has been rebuilt and the hearth has been replaced with bricks placed in a herringbone pattern and laid in cement. Between 1988 and 1996, the Kingsland Homestead was completely rehabilitated and conserved.
Exhibits on Queens history are depicted on the first floor of the Kingsland Homestead, including an original RockawaysÕ Playland sign from 1950. The Kingsland Homestead's furnished parlor room transforms visitors back to early Victorian life in Queens. This second floor parlor is decorated as if it belonged to a middle-class Victorian family. Different lacework, diaries, notebooks and eyeglasses belonging to the Doughty and King families and later residents of Kingsland Homestead are often displayed in this furnished parlor room.
The Queens Historical Society uses Kingsland Homestead for its wide-ranging library and archive of old documents from NYC's largest borough. The Historical Society also holds meetings, lectures and other local events. The Kingsland Homestead is under the jurisdiction of Parks and the Historic House Trust of New York City. The Kingsland Homstead was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965.
#17 - photo supplied by shrs27 - flickr.com/photos/31331736@N06/3487403084
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway Queens Farm Park/Creedmoor Farm Park, Floral Park, Queens, NY 11004
Hours - Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (outdoor visiting only), Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. tours of the historic farmhouse and hayrides (weather permitting)
Holiday Closings - Closed some holidays
Fees - Free except during events
Public Transportation - Subways - E or F train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station, transfer to Q46 Bus (eastbound on Union Tpk.) to Little Neck Parkway Stop, Cross Union Tpk and walk North on Little Neck Pky 3 blocks to Museum Entrance on left
The Queens County Farm Museum, NYC's only working historical farm, features the largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland in NYC. The farm is situated on 47 acres of its original farmland in Glen Oaks, Queens, that first opened in the 1690s on seven historic acres. The site's original farm buildings span three centuries. The Adriances owned and worked the farm from 1697 to 1808, living in a 1772 Dutch colonial homestead with red shingles (that was first built as a three-room farmhouse). The Adriance farmhouse still has their original 18th century kitchen, complete with butter churner and cast iron pots. A wood burning stove was added in 1865 to modernize their old country kitchen.
After 1800, new families took over the farm, turning the Queens County Farm into a truck farming business (market gardening). The planting areas include a greenhouse, fruit orchards, corn fields, lettuce crops, a herb garden and a one-acre vineyard of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes (for bottling their own wines). Besides their horses, ponies and honeybee hives, the Queens County Farm Museum livestock pens are full of goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, ducks, a henhouse full of Rhode Island Reds and chickens, and an Ayreshire cow named Daisy (the farm's mascot).
Daniel Stattel was the Queens County Farm's last private farmer who transformed it into the second largest sized farm in Queens County by 1900. The Stattels sold it to real estate investor Pauline Reisman in 1926, who in 1927 sold it to New York State for use in the Creedmoor State Hospital. Creedmore grew plants and crops for decoration and to stock its kitchen. The tasks of simple farm chores was ideal for their patients occupational therapy programs. In 1975, NY state legislation authored by Frank Padavan transferred ownership of the Queens County Farm from the Creedmoor Hospital to the New York City Department of Parks, for the purpose of starting a museum, and opened the historic landmark farm to the public.
Showing impressive endurance, the Queens County Farm has farmed through the histories of two world wars and many local wars. It had to meet the agricultural needs of a geographic area that grew from a small colony to a thriving metropolis. Bringing history to life, the Queens County Farm Museum is the ideal tranquil place that lets visitors leave their hectic daily pace behind them, and learn the processes of how farm products move from soil to table. Adult workshops and classes at the Adriance farmhouse and greenhouse focus on horticulture (garden and house plants),honeybee and egg incubation, and agriculture in Queens County. Kids' workshops and tours include: Honey Bee Alive!: Learn about bees and make a beeswax candle; quilts: students make a quilt patch; Farmyard Tour: Learn farmers lifes, feed the animals and enjoy a hayride; Colonial Cooking: Open-hearth cooking workshop, make soup and cornbread; Apple Pressing: Make cider.
The important task of restoring the Adriance farmhouse was completed in 1986 and is now the Museum of the Agricultural History of New York City. Guided tours of the petting zoo cost $9. Weekend events often include extremely bumpy hayrides (available mostly from April through October). The Queens County Farm Museum has an Annual Craft Fair, and an October corn maze. Fresh eggs, honey, and seasonal produce are available in their glass-framed greenhouse/gift shop.
#18 - photo supplied by Milt Harris - flickr.com/photos/miltharris/3707653401
Lewis H. Latimer House
34-41 137 Street (Leavitt Street), Flushing, Queens
Hours - Tuesday through Thursday & Saturday, 11am to 4pm
Holiday Closings - Closed Monday, Friday, and Sunday and most holidays
Fees - Adults, seniors/students - $7, Children 12 and under - $5
Public Transportation - Subway - #7 to Main St, Flushing; Take Q25 to Linden Place & 35th Avenue, Flushing
The Queen Anne styled Lewis H. Latimer House was built between 1887-1889, by the Sexton family on Holly Avenue in Flushing, Queens. . From 1903 to 1928, the two and a half story L-shaped frame house was once the home of African-American inventor, Lewis Howard Latimer. This small home (twenty by thirty foot main section and a ten by twenty foot rear wing) was occupied by the Latimer family until his daughter Louise's death in 1963 or 1964. Their historic house was decorated with bay windows, stained glass, decorative vergeboards , bracketed eaves, fish- scale shingles on the front gable and an open wood porch. To avoid demolition in 1998, the Lewis H. Latimer House was moved to Leavitt Field, where it is now operated as a museum highlighting the inventor's work.
Born free September 4, 1848, Lewis Latimer's parents George and Rebecca Latimer fled their enslavement for freedom in Chelsea, Massachusetts. George Latimer's owner tracked them down and had George arrested, 300 protesters surrounded the courthouse which freed the family and galvanized the Boston abolitionist community. Lewis was schooled in Boston, at 16 years old he joined Union Navy during the Civil War and served as a cabin boy on the USS Massasoit. After getting an honorable discharge from the Navy, he decided to use innovation to move on as an inventor. After learning mechanical drawing, Lewis became chief draftsman at Crosby and Gould, a Boston patent attorney's firm. At Crosby and Gould, Latimer met Alexander Graham Bell, who hired him to do the patent drawings for the telephone.
On February 10, 1874, Latimer's first patent (US 147,363) was for his invention of a train toilet (water closet for railway cars). In 1879, Latimer got a job at the United States Electric Light Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut where he worked Hiram Stevens Maxim (the developer of the machine gun). As an expert in electricity, Lewis in 1879, created a longer-lasting light bulb (that lasted more than two days the paper filaments did, but not as long as todays tungsten filaments) by inventing and patenting the process for manufacturing the carbon filament, Lewis also patented several improvements to the incandescent light bulb.
In 1880, Latimer followed the company to Brooklyn, NY, and worked in London to help the English to set up a lamp factory. He returned to the Brooklyn office of the United States Electric Light Company in 1882, but Maxim was gone and Latimer lost his position. By 1885, Latimer started working for the Edison Electric Light Company of New York, and eventually entered its Engineering Department . In 1889, Thomas Edison named Lewis Latimer as a chief engineer and patent investigator of the Edison Electric Light Company. In 1890, Latimer's book called, Incandescent Electric Lighting: A Practical Description of the Edison System was published. Latimer was the only Black member of Thomas A. Edison's research team of noted scientists. In 1918, Latimer became a charter member, and the sole black member of the Edison Pioneers, an exclusive social networking group, and worked with Edison for 25 years. Lewis retired in 1922, and stopped being a draftsman due to his failing eyesight.
Latimer also worked on a hospital air cleaner, improved the safety elevator (upward mobility through modern invention) and supervised the construction of lighting systems for New York, London, Philadelphia and Montreal. Other inventions by Lewis Latimer included patented a forerunner of the air conditioner on January 12, 1886 (Patent No.334,078), a locking rack for hats, coats and umbrellas on March 24, 1896 ( Patent No. 557,076 issued) and a book support on February 7, 1905 (Patent No. 781,890 issued).
In 1903, Lewis Latimer moved his family (wife Mary Wilson and daughters Louise and Jeanette) to Flushing where he taught drafting, painted, and played and wrote music, prose, poems and plays. Lewis created a studio and study by adding a large one-story frame addition that wrapped around the rear and northwest corner of the house. Lewis Latimer an important voice for civil rights, never stopped inventing things until he died on December 11th, 1928.
The house, designated as a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1995, is owned by the New York City Parks Department, and is a member of the Historic House Trust. The house is operated by the Lewis H. Latimer Fund, Inc., which runs it as a museum to Lewis Latimer's accomplished life's work.
#19 - photo supplied by Peter Borghard - rafterman_ - flickr.com/photos/peatpunk/3870200529
Alice Austen House Museum
2 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours - Open March through December, Thursday through Sunday 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Holiday Closings - Closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Closed January, February and major holidays
Fees - $2.00 per person
Public Transportation - Staten Island Ferry to #S51 bus to Hylan Boulevard, walk one block east to water and house
One of the oldest houses in NYC is located by the Narrows in Staten Island. The Alice Austen House (the estate is known as Clear Comfort) was built in 1690s as a farmhouse, and it was transformed into a Gothic Victorian country cottage with gingerbread wood trim by the Austen family. Its panoramic view of New York Harbor must have caught the trained eye of pioneer documentary photographer Alice Austen.
Alice's grandfather, John H. Austen, bought the property in 1844 when it was just a one and a half story farmhouse. He expanded the farmhouse and added touches of Gothic Revival style such as steeply peaked dormer windows and the gingerbread wood trim.
In 1866, Elizabeth Alice Austen was born at Woodbine Cottage in Rosebank, Staten Island. In 1867. her dad (Edward Stopford Munn) abandoned the family, Alice and her Mom (Alice Cornell Austen Munn) moved a quarter mile away into Grandpa's house. Alice lived in John H. Austen's Clear Comfort cottage until 1945, and never used her father's last name, except when she was christened on May 23, 1866, in St. John's Church. On her glass plates Alice simply used her initials EAA. In 1876, her uncle Oswald Muller taught her to use an early-model dry plate camera when she was 10 years old. Oswald was a Danish sea captain who often took voyages around the world and bought the camera from a British manufacturer. Right away Alice showed that she had natural ability and a real interest and desire to learn. By experimenting like she watched her uncle use the camera, she learned how to operate the cameras complex mechanism, judge its exposures, develop the heavy glass plates the camera used, and make prints. When her uncle Oswald set sail again, he let Alice use the camera anytime she wished.
Alice had another uncle named Peter, who was a young professor of chemistry at Rutgers College. Peter recognized Alice's enthusiasm for the camera and taught her to use the right chemicals to develop the glass plates she exposed, and how to make prints from them as well. Both uncles converted an upstairs storage closet into a darkroom, where Alice would develop her plates. Alice rinsed her plates and prints in basins in her backyard where the house's only water pump was located. Luckily her family spoiled her with the best equipment she desired, and many more cameras were purchased for her obsessive hobby. By 1884, she was already extremely technically experienced and artistically accomplished for a 18-year-old. Alice demanded absolute perfection, and her professional standards made her a stickler for the exact lighting and composition and she demanded of her subjects.
When her steamer trunk was full of her camera equipment, it weighed almost 50 pounds, but Alice took it everywhere she went. She was strong, extremely active, and very social, a combination that mixed perfectly with her love for traveling that in turn helped her develop a wide extensive range of subjects. In the 1890s, Alice and her equipment traveled to upstate New York, Vermont, Illinois, Massachusetts, and accompanied her mother to Europe during the summers of 1890s and into the early part of the 20th century. Alice loved to photograph newly arriving immigrants on the streets of New York City. Miss E Alice Austen became listed annually in New York's Social Register after 1910, and became a member of the Colony Club in Manhattan. Her strong desire to keep a documentary photographic diary of her life, using skilled composition, pose, costuming and satire created almost 8,000 glass plates. Most of Alice Austen's pictures were shot in Staten Island, and New York City.
Besides photography, and other girls, Alice loved gardening and turned Clear Comfort into a horticultural paradise. She founded the Staten Island Garden Club in 1914, whose members still maintain the Alice Austen House Museums Victorian gardens. When Alice was 63, the stock market crashed and she lost everything. Establishing a tea room on her lawn to try to support her household, she started selling off Clear Comforts silver, art works and furniture. She lost her house in 1945, and desperately sold off the rest of her possessions to a New Jersey dealer for $600. Before her stuff was picked up, Loring McMillen from the Staten Island Historical Society loaded up two cars of 3,500 of her old glass plate negatives.
After her first small apartment, she entered numerous nursing homes. Declaring herself a pauper on July 24th, 1950, she entered the Staten Island Farm Colony, a local poorhouse. When Picture Press, a small publishing company was planning a history of American women, they discovered Alice's glass plate negatives at the Staten Island Historical Society in October 1950. Oliver Jensen, a partner at Picture Press, visited Alice's poorhouse in the early summer of 1951, and published many of her photos in the book called the Revolt of Women. Also thanks to Oliver Jensen, Life Magazine did an eight-page story with her holiday photos, which gave her the money to move into a private nursing home.
On October 9, 1951 Alice Austen celebrated Alice Austen Day at a Richmondtown museum exhibiting her pictures. She died peacefully in her sleep on June 9th, 1952, and was buried by the Austen family plot in the Moravian Cemetery. Today more than 3,000 of Alice Austen's famous glass plates still survive, giving generations an actual view of turn-of-the-century American life seen through her eyes.
In 1975, New York City bought the quaint Alice Austen House. The Alice Austen House serves as a museum of photographer Alice Austen's life and times, showcasing some her furniture, heirlooms, and various examples of period decorative arts. The Alice Austen House and its Victorian gardens full of weeping mulberry and flowering quince shrubs were restored between 1984 to 1985. The Alice Austen House was restored by NYC using Austen's photographs as a reference, adding ornate period furniture, historic rugs, oriental vases and Delft fireplace tiles.
The Staten Island Historical Society still owns Alice Austen's collection of negatives and helps the Friends of Alice Austen House, which operates its museum. For amazing views of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and to stand where Alice Austen once stood, you must experience the Alice Austen House.
#20 - photo supplied by Andy Cross - andy in nyc - flickr.com/photos/andyinnyc/441204633
Conference House / Billop House
7455 Hylan Boulevard, Conference House Park, 298 Satterlee Street, Staten Island, NY 10307
Hours - Friday through Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m from the first weekend in April to mid-December
Holiday Closings - Closed mid-December through the first weekend in April, Closed most holidays
Fees - Adults - $3, Children and Seniors - $2, Members with membership cards - Free
Public Transportation - Staten Island Ferry to S59 (Richmond Ave.) or S78 Tottenville (Hylan Blvd.), get off at Hylan Blvd. and Craig Ave. Walk one block south to Conference House Park
In 1676, Christopher Billop, a British sea captain in the Royal Navy, was the one to win Staten Island for New York City. Billop came to America in 1674 and was granted a patent for 932 acres of land on Staten Island on a site that once was an Indian village. Staten Island was in dispute with the proprietors of what later became New Jersey and New York for its ownership. The Duke of York historically ruled that if the island between the two disputants could be circumnavigated in 24 hours, it would belong to NYC. If this shipping effort failed, the island would go to what is now New Jersey. On his ship the Bentley, Captain Billop circled Staten Island in 23 hours and was awarded two land grants totaling 1,600 acres, where he founded a village that he called the Manor Bentley (named after his little boat).
The two and a half story fieldstone Conference House, first known as the Billop House, was built before 1680, on a bluff overlooking the Arthur Kill and Raritan Bay near the southernmost tip of New York State on Staten Island. The house was built by British naval Captain Christopher Billop and was owned by his great-grandson of the same name during the American Revolution. The grandson, a Tory colonel, was captured twice by American patriots raiding across the Arthur Kill from New Jersey. These captures made Billop give up trying to live in what is now the southernmost point of New York City and he and his family fled to Nova Scotia where he was given property by the King of England in recognition of his loyalty to the British Crown.
The Billop House became the site of the famous three hour pre-Revolutionary War era peace conference on September 11, 1776. Shortly after the fall of New York to the British, Admiral Lord Richard Howe (King George's Peace Commissioner) believed after having beaten the Americans and taken their key city, he was entitled to a peace settlement. Howe insisted on personally meeting three prominent members of the Continental Congress to urge them to end the Colonial rebellion and return to the folds of the British Empire. In exchange the British would grant them amnesty and freedom from reprisal and give them more of the rights enjoyed by other Englishmen. The Americans who were brought over on a boat from Perth Amboy politely declined the British offer, and considered separation from England non-negotiable. John Adams replied back to Howe, "I shall be willing to consider myself for a few moments in any character which would be agreeable to your lordship, except that of a British subject." This unsuccessful meeting of Benjamin Franklin, Edward Rutledge and John Adams of the Continental Congress with British military representative Lord Howe resulted in the loss of many human lives, and seven more years of conflict.
After the Revolutionary War, the Billops lost heir land because of their Tory sympathies. In 1861, the town of Manor Bentley was renamed Tottenville to honor the Tottens, founders of the 1772 Bethel Methodist Church. The Conference House was purchased by Samuel Ward for his son Caleb Ward Sr., who divided the estate into small parcels for his five children and his many grandchildren. The area around the Conference House became known as Wards Point. Over the next century, the Conference House changed hands several times and started to deteriorate. Local Staten Island historian Gabriel P. Disosway in 1846 wrote an article about the Conference House and its place in the history of the American Revolution. In 1886, the New York State legislature introduced a bill to acquire the Conference House for museum purposes. It didn't pass, but was reintroduced in 1896, 1901, and again in 1909 to no avail.
The loss of such an important piece of American history because of its deteriorated state could not be tolerated. The Conference House Association thus formed on September 21, 1925, by a group of local Staten Island preservationists to oversee the reconstruction of the Conference House.
In April 1926, the Harmon National Real Estate Company (owner of the Conference House / Billop House since 1925) gave the Tottenville property and one acre of land to the City of New York for use as a museum and public recreational area called the Conference House Park. In 1929, the Municipal Assembly of the City of New York placed the house under the association's aegis. The Conference House became the first house museum on Staten Island and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Special events and educational programs still focus on the Billopp family and the Revolutionary War conference.
The New York City Parks Department manages the grounds of the oldest stone manor in Staten Island and the only pre-Revolution manor house still standing in NYC. The Parks Department built a new waterfront pavilion overlooking a harbor on the New Jersey side and is developing the entire historic Conference House Park.
The Conference House is one of America's most famous haunted houses. The ghost of a young woman murdered in the house in the 1700s appears on the stair landing. A ghostly little girl about 7 years old is sometimes heard playing in an upstairs bedroom or seen in the middle window of the top floor. A priest has been seen floating over the big tree in front of the house. Several wounded British soldiers also appear in the garden near the trellis and by the sealed entrance to the hidden tunnel in the cellar. People who walk the cliffs to the left of the house have claimed to see what appear to be Native Americans and hear their drums.
#21 - photo supplied by Novia - novia... - flickr.com/photos/novia913/3780147017
Historic Richmond Town / Voorlezer's House
Arthur Kill Rd., opposite Center Street, around 62 Arthur Kill Road, Richmond Town 441 Clarke Avenue La Tourette Park Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours - Sept through May: Wed through Sun 1 to 5 pm; June-Aug: Wed-Sat 10 am to 5 pm, Sun 1 to 5 pm; Tours - Wednesday through Friday at 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Holiday Closings - Closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
Fees - Adults: $5, Seniors: $4, Students & children 5-17: $3.50, Children under 5 and SIHS members: FREE
Public Transportation - Staten Island Ferry to S54 or S74 buses, get off at Richmond Town at Arthur Kill Road, opposite Center Street
Historic Richmond Town in LaTourette Park is a historic village and museum. Richmond Town consists of 100 acres that include 28 buildings that use a variety of architectural styles, dating from the late 17th to the early 20th centuries, it was first opened to the public in 1935. Half of these buildings still stand at their original locations. Reenacted skills at Historic Richmond Town include carpentry, spinning, weaving, quilting, fireplace cooking, tinsmithing and printing on a rare Stansbury press. Museum exhibitions highlight folk art, costumes, textiles, and tools tell the history of the borough of Richmond.
The Staten Island Historical Society first acquired and restored the oldest surviving elementary school in the country, the Voorlezer's House (1695). The Voorlezer's House is a historic clapboard frame house, that became a private residence for more than a century, as well as a store. The Voorlezer's House was built by the Dutch Reformed Congregation. Voorlezer in Dutch means Fore-reader, which means assistant to a pastor. The assistant pastor was Hendrick Kroesen who sometimes held religious services, read the scriptures, and ran the school.
A small living quarters and a large room for church services were located on the first floor. The second floor consisted of a small bedroom, and a large room that was probably used for the school (the extra set of floor beams shows it was designed to accommodate more people). The 14 to 16 inch wide floors boards are made of white pine.
The Voorlezer's House has foundation walls that are 2 feet thick, which were constructed of undressed field stone that were laid up in mud and mortar. Its original straight, ladder-like stairs were substituted around 1800. The roof of the house has an unequal pitch because the front of the house is about 2 feet higher than the rear of the house. Nearby forests were the source of the houses timber, which are oak or white wood. At the northeast end of the house is a stone-and-brick chimney.
The Voorlezer's House became a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1966, when that registry was first created. Richmond Town is a joint project of New York CityÕs Department of Cultural Affairs, Parks, the Historic House Trust, and the Staten Island Historical Society. The Staten Island Historical Society collects and preserves 70,000 historic artifacts of Staten Island.
The town of Richmond, which began as a modest hamlet in the 1690s, by 1728 became the county seat of government of Richmond County (as Staten Island is alternatively known) until 1898 (when Staten Island was incorporated into the City of New York). In 1898, the county seat was moved to St. George because it was close to the ferry. During the Revolutionary War, British troops were stationed in Richmond Town, they slept in the towns homes and barns. The British destroyed a church and an early courthouse but the other historic structures of this museum village were all spared.
#22 - photo supplied by Chris - BrotherNot - flickr.com/photos/35101952@N07/3324973614
440 Seguine Avenue Lemon Creek Park, Staten Island, NY 10309
Hours - Spring, Summer, and Fall, periodic tours available from Staten Island Urban Park Rangers, call for information
Holiday Closings - Winter and most holiday
Public Transportation - Staten Island Ferry, to S56, S59 or S78 buses to Seguine Avenue, or SIRT to Princes Bay; Express bus from Manhattan - x23 on weekdays
The Abraham Manee House, also called the Manee-Seguine Homestead at the corner of Seguine and Purdy Place, is one of the oldest Dutch structures on Staten Island (the Billop house is the oldest). The oldest section of the the Manee-Seguine Homestead was built in 1700 by Paulus Regrenier, who owned 140 acres but lived simply in a one-room dwelling. A French Huguenot, Abraham Manee built a rubble-stone addition that had a spring eave roof in the late 18th century. During the Revolutionary War, the house may have been used by the British commander General Vaughan.
Between 1780 and 1786, James Seguine bought a large parcel of land from Abraham Manee as well as the old homestead. Seguine also built additions in the early 19th century. The Seguines owned the Manee-Seguine Homestead until 1867. In 1874, the Manee-Seguine Homestead was turned into a hotel when Prince's Bay became a popular resort town. New owner Stephen Purdy ran the old homestead as Purdy's Hotel. It sits on the southern shore of Staten Island by Prince's Bay, once an abundant source of clams and oysters.
The export of these world-renowned oysters created the huge fortune of the Seguine family, but in 1927 Raritan Bay oysters was blamed for the outbreak of typhoid fever that was traced back to the Lower Bay and the Kill van Kull. In 1927, the last of the Raritan Bay beds closed, marking the end of oystering in NYC. Before these oysters were shunned, the export profits from this large supply afforded the Seguine's their second mansion near the old Manee-Seguine Homestead. The Seguine's first mansion was destroyed by fire in 1835.
James Seguine's grandson, Joseph H. Seguine, was born into the fifth generation of the Staten Island Seguine family. Between 1837 and 1838, Joseph built the the two and a half story Greek Revival Seguine Mansion on the highest point on the Seguine family's ancestral farm. To support his estate, Joseph added a large hay barn, carriage house and stables. Joseph founded Staten Island Oil, helped establish the Staten Island Railroad Company and managed one of Richmond County's largest salt hay farms. The Seguine Mansion overlooking Prince's Bay is situated in Lemon Creek Park, featuring beautiful red clay bluffs on the tallest ocean-facing cliffs in New York State. The Seguine Mansion also provides extensive views of Raritan Bay and the New Jersey highlands beyond.
Joseph died in 1856, but the Saguine family stayed in the mansion until just after the Civil War. They were forced to sell the mansion in 1868 as a result of financial reversals. Seguine descendants repurchased the mansion and its 10 surviving acres, living there between 1916 and 1977. In 1981, the deteriorated house was sold at auction to George Burke, who restored and rehabilitated it over eight years, and then donated the Seguine Mansion to the City of New York in 1989. The mansion featured a large portico with paneled piers surmounted by a classical pediment, a few marbleized fireplaces, and its spacious rooms are graced by Greek Revival mantels and plasterwork. Tall windows and doors circulate the cool ocean breezes that flow throughout the house.
Infrequent scheduled tours of the mansion and its elegant gardens are offered from spring to fall by the New York City Urban Park Rangers from the New York City Parks Department. It was designated a NYC landmark in 1984. The Seguine Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic House Trust.