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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Explorers and Settlers
Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

New York

Location: Ulster County, on the Walkill River, New Paltz.

Ownership and Administration. The Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, New York, Inc., owns the Abraham Hasbrouck House, Bevier-Elting House, Hugo Freer House, and Jean Hasbrouck House. The Daniel du Bois House is privately owned.

Significance. The settlement of Huguenots, both French and Walloons, was a significant facet of U.S. development in the 17th and 18th centuries. Nowhere is this more graphically illustrated by historic buildings than at New Paltz, where five stone houses clustered along Huguenot Street constitute a remarkable picture of an early Huguenot community. The original settlement at New Paltz was made during the latter part of the 17th century, but most of the five houses date from the first part of the 18th century, although they incorporate 17th-century elements.

Surrounded by the Dutch and friendly with them, the Huguenot settlers of New Paltz nevertheless resisted intermarriage and for many years preserved their own way of life. For all practical purposes, they were an independent, self-governing body that was tolerated by the Crown and later the State of New York. In 1785, the State legislature confirmed the ancient grants and petitions, and incorporated the town into the State government. The original system of government for New Paltz, established in 1728, consisted of a council of 12 heads of families, the Duzine. Descendants of the original 12 governed until 1826.

Even without its Huguenot associations, the existence of five early buildings on one continuously inhabited street would justify recognition of the New Paltz community as an outstanding survivor of colonial America. When it is also considered that Huguenot Street was a haven for European refugees, New Paltz is unique in terms of its period and historical significance.

Present Appearance. The five Huguenot houses, all strongly reflecting Dutch architectural influence, are described below:

(1) Jean Hasbrouck House (Memorial House). Built around 1712 by one of the original patentees of the settlement, it has been remarkably well preserved. Its rough stone walls, topped by a high, steep pitched roof, give it a medieval appearance. The interior has a center hall plan; two rooms are on each side. Over the entrance door is an early shed-stoop. The house is open to the public.

(2) Abraham Hasbrouck House. This house is also relatively unaltered. Its rough-faced stone walls and gabled roof with sloping shed dormers and three chimneys are typical Dutch colonial. The north portion dates to 1694; additions were made in 1700 and 1712.

(3) Bevier-Elting House. The center portion of this house, the home of an original New Paltz patentee, dates from the end of the 17th century, although the house was substantially enlarged around 1735.

(4) Daniel du Bois House. This house was built around 1705 on the site of a log fortress, the walls of which are said to have been incorporated in the newer dwelling. Fifty years later, the second story was added, and in the 19th century the house was enlarged and its interior altered.

(5) Hugo Freer House. In addition to thick stone walls and steep pitched roof, this house has solid shutters on the windows and divided door with overhang hood—both common in Dutch colonial architecture. The north end was built about 1694 and the south end about 1735.

Besides these five houses, the Deyo House may be mentioned. Portions of the walls of the present house are all that remain of the original structure, built by Pierre Deyo, another of the New Paltz patentees. The house was extensively remodeled in the 19th century, little of its original construction being spared. It is also owned by the Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, New York, Inc. [71]

NHL Designation: 10/09/60

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005