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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

New York

Location: Richmond County, 1476 Richmond Avenue, Dongan Hills, Staten Island.

This house is an interesting illustration of a Dutch-type house greatly modified by numerous additions in different styles, particularly in the 18th century. Pierre Billou, a Huguenot who arrived at New Amsterdam in 1661 and subsequently received a land grant on Staten Island, erected the original stone section about 1665. In 1679, Thomas Stilwell, a well-to-do landowner, enlarged the house. His descendants owned it until the mid-18th century, at which time Edward Perine acquired it. The Perine family owned it until 1913. It has a shingled, sloping roof, and an unusual jambless fireplace, which is very high and has a large stone hearth. A secret chamber opens into a room that features a ceiling with exceptionally large beams. Owned by the Staten Island Historical Society, the house is open to the public on a limited weekend schedule or by appointment.

New York

Location: Queens County, corner of Bowne Street and Fox Lane, Flushing, Long Island.

John Bowne erected this simple, two-story frame residence in 1661, some 10 years after he had migrated to New Netherland from Derbyshire, England. The house not only has general historic interest but is notably associated with the growth of religious freedom in America. Bowne and his wife were jailed and deported to Holland for trial because they held Quaker gatherings in their home. Bowne pled the cause of individual freedom of worship so successfully before the court that the Bownes were permitted to return to Flushing, and the Dutch West India Company declared that henceforth freedom of worship would prevail in its New World colony.

The Bowne family occupied the house until 1946, when the Bowne House Historical Society took it over and restored it. The kitchen is of particular interest for it was the meeting place of John Bowne and his Quaker friends. It is dominated by a gigantic fireplace. The house is open to the public throughout the year for a few hours each week.

New York

Location: Dutchess County, 50 Van Nydeck Avenue, Beacon.

This house was erected by Catharyna and Roger Brett in 1709, the year after Catharyna inherited 28,000 acres of an 85,000-acre tract of land along the Hudson River, originally purchased from the Indians in 1663. It was a typical Dutch structure, one-and-a-half stories high, having a low gambrel roof extending downward over the porch. The original section of the house still retains some of the roundheaded shingles that were used on the exterior. Both the wing and the present kitchen were added after 1709, the latter probably after 1790. In 1790, Isaac De Peyster Teller acquired the house and it remained in the Teller family for seven generations. During the War for Independence, prominent guests included Washington, Lafayette, and Von Steuben. The house is now owned by the Melzingah Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and is open daily.

New York

Location: Montgomery County, west side of Cayadutta Creek, one-quarter mile west of Fonda.

Caughnawaga, the last Mohawk village in the present United States before the tribe moved to Canada, illustrates European missionary influence on the Indians. Occupied during the period 1667-93, it was the site of a French Jesuit mission for about 10 years, 1668-79. The Indian girl Kateri Tekakwitha, known as "Lily of the Mohawks," was baptized and confirmed at this mission; she died at the age of 19. Because of her exemplary Christian life, she has gone through several stages of canonization, the first aboriginal North American to be so honored, and her influence has made the site a Catholic shrine.

Comprehensive excavation has revealed the entire circumference (1,016 feet) of the double stockade and the outlines of 12 lodges. White stakes in each of the 3,041 post molds help the visitor visualize the pattern of the village. The site is pleasantly situated on a bluff overlooking the Mohawk River. Nearby is the town of Fonda, founded in 1775 by a group of Dutchmen and named Caughnawaga until 1851.

National Historic Landmark DYCKMAN HOUSE
New York

Location: New York County, 204th Street and Broadway, New York.

This Dutch-style residence, typical of the final phase of Flemish colonial architecture, is the only 18th-century farmhouse still standing in Manhattan. William Dyckman's first house on this site was burned during the War for Independence, but in 1783 Dyckman erected the one that is still carefully preserved today. The house is a white, two-story residence, the lower walls of fieldstone and the upper of clapboard. A gambrel roof in the front extends over a rail-enclosed porch. Descendants of the original owner rehabilitated the house and in 1915 presented it to New York City, which keeps it open to the public throughout the year.

Dyckman House
Dyckman House, the only 18th-century framehouse extant in Manhattan, is a typical example of Flemish colonial architecture.

NHL Designation: 12/24/67

New York

Location: Onondaga County, on N.Y. 57, about 1-1/2 miles north of Syracuse.

Fort Ste. Marie de Gannentatha was erected for protection against the Dutch and Indians by 50 French colonists who in 1656 attempted to settle near the present city of Syracuse. The colony eventually failed. The present stockade is a reconstruction. The exterior is of unfinished logs and the interior of roughhewn boards; reproduced period furnishings help recreate the appearance of the original stockade. Many French and Indian relics are displayed. Near the stockade is the Jesuit Well, the site of a salt spring visited in 1654 by Father Simon le Moyne, a Jesuit missionary. The stockade is open to the public all year.

New York

Location: Kings County, on Empire Boulevard, Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

This house was built in 1777 by Lt. Peter Lefferts, descendant of a New York Dutch family, on the site of his previous home, destroyed by fire in a military action at the beginning of the War for Independence. The original site was at 563 Flatbush Avenue, from which the building was moved to the present location in 1918, when Lefferts' descendants presented it to the city of New York.

The design of the house reflects Lefferts' Dutch heritage. A low gambrel roof ends in a deep overhang in front, which is supported by several columns. The handsome front door is surmounted by a richly carved entableture of sunburst designs. Inside, an arch on the north side of the main hall separates the dining and living rooms. The parlor and bedrooms are on the south side of the hall; a children's room occupies the second floor along with a maple room and a workroom. The attic has a smokeroom. The house is furnished with period furniture and is maintained as a museum by the city of New York. It is open to the public on a limited schedule throughout the year.

New York

Location: Montgomery County, on N.Y. 58, Auriesville.

This shrine, which memorializes all Roman Catholic clerics put to death by Indians, illustrates European missionary efforts. Father Isaac Jogues, a French Jesuit missionary who first arrived in North America in 1636, was captured by the Mohawk Indians in 1642, and suffered terribly before he was helped to escape by a Dutch minister. Returning in 1646 from a voyage to France, he was again captured by unfriendly natives, who executed him on October 18, 1646, in the Mohawk village of Osseruenon, where the National Shrine of North American Martyrs is now located. Jogues and seven other priests who were killed by Indians were canonized in 1925. Adjoining the shrine is a statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, "Lily of the Mohawks," an Indian girl of exceptional Christian devotion, who was horn in Osseruenon. Open from May 6 to October 28, the shrine includes an Indian museum, a cafeteria, and an inn.

New York

ocation: Madison County, 10 miles south of U.S. 20, Fenner Township.

This well-preserved site is believed by some historians to have been the location of the fortified Oneida village that Champlain and his Huron allies attacked in 1615—even though pottery sherds recovered from the site are prehistoric Mohawk rather than 17th-century Oneida. The topography of the area, however, conforms generally with that described by Champlain. Excavation has revealed about 120 feet of a quadruple stockade that has ample room between the walls for the galleries mentioned by Champlain. The site has been leased to the Champlain Battle Park Association by the County of Madison and is being developed on a limited scale.

New York

Location: Schoharie County, at the northern edge of Schoharie.

The Old Stone Fort was originally a church of the Reformed Protestant High Dutch Church Society. The congregation that constructed it had worshipped in two previous structures, built in 1724 and 1737, a little to the northeast of the Old Stone Fort site. The present structure was built in 1772 of local stone, hauled by the parishioners themselves. Many carved their names on the stones, but during the War for Independence the names of Tories were obliterated. In 1830, a tower and spire that had dominated the church were removed.

The church came to be called the Old Stone Fort after 1778, when the State of New York converted it into a fort by erecting a stockade around the building and blockhouses at the southwest and northeast corners. In 1780, Sir John Johnson attacked it with a force of some 800 British soldiers, Indians, and Tories, but was repulsed. The stockade was not removed until 1785. In 1844, the congregation moved to a new edifice, and in 1857 the State purchased the old church and used it as an arsenal until 1873, when it was deeded to Schoharie County. A museum today, the Old Stone Fort is administered by the County Board of Supervisors and the Schoharie County Historical Society. It is open to the public from April through October.

New York

Location: Greene County, on U.S. 9W, 1-1/2 miles south of West Coxsackie.

This house is outstanding among Dutch colonial houses in the Hudson Valley. It was built in two sections by descendants of Jonas Bronck, who settled on Manhattan Island in 1639 and after whom the Bronx is named. In 1663, Pieter Bronck, a stepson, built a stone house on land purchased from the Indians. About 1738 his grandson, Leendert Bronck, added a larger brick house, connected to the original house by a doorway. Their descendants lived in the duplex house until 1938, when the owner presented it to the Greene County Historical Society.

The stolid, plain character of the original house exemplifies Dutch pioneer construction. The loopholes on the second floor were used for muskets. The addition reflects the grandson's prosperity as well as more settled conditions in the area. It also consists of two stories and has a gabled roof. The living room has massive ceiling beams that are supported by nautical curved knees, a technique rather common in the area's farmhouses. This room also has a steep stairway, Dutch door, and broad floorboards, all typical of Dutch houses of the era. The house, which is open to the public throughout the year, exhibits colonial furnishings and historical memorabilia.

Pieter Bronck House
Pieter Bronck House, New York, consists of two parts, a stone section erected in 1663 and a larger brick section erected about 1738. It is outstanding among surviving Dutch colonial houses in the Hudson River Valley.
New York

Location: Kings County, southwest corner of Ralph Avenue and Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn.

Because Pieter Wyckoff, who arrived in New Amsterdam in 1637, probably built this house between 1639 and 1641, it is one of the oldest extant on Long Island. Wyckoff lived in it for 44 years, while superintendent of Peter Stuyvesant's estate and also as a large landowner in his own right. The original building was only about a little more than half as deep as the present one, and it probably had a steep roof. The existing gable roof is low and sweeping and has projecting front and rear eaves. A wing was added to the house, perhaps around 1784, and some very old shakes are still on the exterior. The house is maintained and exhibited by the Wyckoff House Foundation.

NHL Designation: 12/24/67

New York

Location: Ulster County, 312 Fair Street, Kingston.

Erected as a residence by Col. Wessel Ten Broeck between 1676 and 1695, when Kingston was a small village called Esopus, this building remained in his family until 1888, when the State acquired it for preservation as a historic shrine. The first New York State Senate used it in 1777, soon after the State constitution was adopted, during the British occupation of New York City. The senators deliberated in the end of the building where the door opens directly onto the street. When the British subsequently burned Kingston, the building was gutted along with other structures, but it was later rebuilt. Maintained as a historic structure, it exhibits period pieces and furnishings, most of them donated by descendants of early settlers in the vicinity. An adjacent museum, erected in 1927, contains historic objects relating to the Kingston area and a collection of paintings by John Vanderlyn, a Kingston-born artist. The house and museum are open to the public throughout the year.

Senate House
Col. Wessel Ten Broeck erected this structure in Esopus (Kingston), New York, between 1676 and 1695. During the War for Independence, when the New York State Senate met in the house, it came to be known as the Senate House. (Courtesy, New York State Education Department.)
National Historic Landmark VAN ALEN HOUSE
New York

Location: Columbia County, on N.Y. 9H, about 6 miles east of Kinderhook.

Built by Luycas Van Alen in 1737, this house is regarded today as an exceptional example of Dutch architecture in America. The site was well situated on what later became the post road between Albany and New York. The brickwork was laid up in Dutch crossbond, on a fieldstone foundation, which enclosed a cellar. The walls were plastered and the ceilings beamed with heavy timbers. The first floor consisted of living room and kitchen, each of which had a great tiled and hooded fireplace at the gable end. A large brick wing was added to the original structure on the north end, probably before 1750. The addition had its own cellar; the first floor consisted of a ball with staircase, small bedroom or larder, and parlor; and the second floor included a hall, storage room, and bedroom.

Changes in the 19th century involved interior partitions and window and door openings, as well as the erection of a front porch across the north wing. The house is now owned by the Greene County Historical Society. Vacant since 1938, it is in poor condition; major stabilization and restoration are required to stave off imminent collapse. The outbuildings have disappeared and the grounds have become unkempt, yet the house still retains to a considerable degree the flavor of a bygone age.

NHL Designation: 12/24/67

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005