Friday, June 10, 2011

Van Courtlandt House: Broadway and 246th St

The Van Courtlandt House Museum is the oldest house in the Bronx.  This Revolutionary War landmark is the first historic house museum in NYC, and it is a National Historic Landmark with a place on the National Register of Historic Places.  Built by grandson, Frederick, of immigrant Oloff Stevense Van Courtlandt (the then fourth richest man in New Amsterdam (now NYC)) in 1748, the Van Courtlandt House is a beautiful English style home surrounded by park lands.

The house served as a base for both English and Revolutionary soldiers during the Revolutionary War.  Both British General Sir William Howe as well as General George Washington is known to have slept there (see photo at right of one of the bedrooms appointed as it would have been during the Revolution).

The museum collection includes period furnishings like those shown throughout the house, antique clothing (see left), and family heirlooms like the children's toys (see below right).  The interior of the house is designed in a way that reminded the builder of his Dutch heritage, and the paint schemes and designs have been preserved thoughtfully by the work of The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York.

It is a small house, just a 2 minute walk from the last stop on the #1 subway.  On a hot day (like the one I went on), it is probably a good 10 degrees cooler here than in midtown Manhattan--thank goodness, since the house is not air conditioned, though surprisingly cool.  It is definitely worth a look, especially if it is on a Wednesday (when all visits are free, usually $5/adults and $3 for seniors and students).  You can get a virtual tour (but nothing is quite as good as seeing it in person) and events information at Van Courtlandt House Info, but if you want hours and admission information, oddly you'll have to check out a different site at Van Courtlandt Visitor Info.  Enjoy!

 

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