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Historic House Trust Festival, New York City

23 Houses chronicle 350 years of our history, culture, architecture—and food

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 158.7 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview:  From modest farmers’ cottages to grand mansions, New York City’s historic houses chronicle 350 years of our history, culture, ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. The Arsenal Building

(Article reprinted from the June 10, 2004 edition of The Daily Plant)

Anyone who visits or even passes by the Arsenal in Central Park gets some sense of its historical status. Closer examination of the building will confirm historical suspicions: the basement entrance bears New York City and National ... More

In 1836, Pell family descendant Robert Bartow and his wife, Maria Lorillard, purchased part of the old manor and built a fashionable three-story Greek Revival mansion, with a dramatic freestanding spiral staircase connecting the elegant parlors on the ground floor with the bedrooms above. The Bartow-Pell Mansion was surrounded by pastureland,... More

Isaac Valentine, a prosperous blacksmith and farmer from Yonkers, built the two-story Georgian house out of the native stone on his land. The House’s location provided Valentine with access to crop markets in New York and with plenty of business as a blacksmith as carts and carriages flowed steadily past his door on the way to the King’s Bridge... More

**Poe Cottage is presently closed to undergo an extensive restoration**

During the restoration, you are invited to visit the exhibition

“Edgar Allan Poe – The New York Years”

The Valentine-Varian House
3266 Bainbridge Avenue at East 208th Street,
The Bronx

Museum Hours
Saturdays: 10AM-4PM, Sundays: 1PM-5PM
Weekdays and group tours by... More

Merchant Jacobus Van Cortlandt began purchasing land in the Bronx in 1694. Gradually, he developed the property into a wheat plantation with extensive milling operations. Jacobus’ son Frederick inherited the estate and commissioned the present house in 1748. The House was built in the Georgian style out of native fieldstone, and its elegant... More

Jan Dyckman established a farm near the northern tip of Manhattan in the 1660s. After its destruction in the Revolutionary War, William Dyckman, Jan’s grandson, replanted the land and built this Farmhouse around 1784. Constructed mostly of fieldstone and clapboard, it features sloping spring eaves, wide porches, and a simple brick facade facing... More

During the decade before the Revolutionary War, the Georgian house, with its monumental portico and octagonal drawing room, was the setting for some of the colony’s most fashionable parties.

In the fall of 1776, the Mansion was seized by the Continental Army and served as headquarters for George Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights.... More

8. Little Red Lighthouse

Illustrated by Lynd Ward, this tale of the friendship between the tiny beacon and the George Washington Bridge introduced children around the world to the red, round, and very, very proud little lighthouse in New York.

Built in 1880, the 40-foot tower was moved in 1921 to Jeffrey’s Hook, a rocky point on the Hudson River near Manhattan’s northern... More

9. Swedish Cottage

Constructed in Sweden of native pine and cedar, the model schoolhouse was dismantled, packed in crates, and shipped across the Atlantic, then re-erected by Swedish craftsmen on the Exposition grounds. Furnished with desks and chalkboards, and staffed by Swedish teachers, the popular pavilion welcomed many visitors.

Impressed by the ornament and... More

Gracie hosted elegant dinner parties at his country estate for visitors including Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, Joseph Bonaparte, and Washington Irving.
Major losses during the years after the War of 1812 forced Gracie to sell his estate in 1823 to Joseph Foulke. In 1857, the Mansion was bought by Noah Wheaton. After Wheaton's death in 1896, the... More

11. Seguine Mansion

By 1786, James Seguine had purchased a large parcel of land overlooking Prince’s Bay. His grandson, Joseph Seguine, built the current Greek Revival-style house in 1838. In addition to operating the family’s thriving oyster harvesting business, Joseph helped establish the Staten Island Railroad Company, founded the Staten Island Oil and... More

A captain in the Royal Navy, Billopp built this House around 1680 as the center of his 1,600-acre Manor of Bentley. The sophisticated, two-story fieldstone House was markedly different in both style and scale from the scattered Dutch and English farmhouses of Staten Island with its high, gabled end walls containing fireplaces and chimney stacks.... More

The Town of Richmond, established in the 1690s, became the seat of Staten Island’s county government in 1728. After Staten Island was incorporated into the City of New York in 1898, its government offices were moved to the town of St. George, and Richmond gradually became a quiet residential area.

Although no longer the government center of... More

In 1877, at the age of 11, Austen received a camera from her uncle. She was immediately mesmerized by this new invention, and spent the next 40 years capturing some 8,000 images. She was often seen riding her bicycle around Staten Island and Manhattan, carrying almost 50 pounds of photographic equipment. Austen is best known for her street... More

15. Hendrick I. Lott House

In 1719, family patriarch Johannes Lott purchased a farm in the rural town of Flatlands. The Lott family quickly became leaders in their community. When Hendrick I. Lott married Mary Brownjohn in 1792, he found his grandfather’s house too old, too small, and too outmoded for a prominent member of an established family. Hendrick built a larger,... More

16. Wyckoff Pieter Claesen House

Its history exemplifies the diversity of Brooklyn’s colonial farms, where Dutch-American landowners, enslaved and freed Africans, and later European immigrants labored on some of the country’s most fertile land.

Pieter Claesen Wyckoff, an illiterate teenage farm laborer, arrived in the New Netherlands in 1637. After serving his indenture to the ... More

During the Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776, a regiment of about 400 volunteers from Maryland engaged a superior force of British and Hessian soldiers in a desperate defensive maneuver to enable other American troops to flee across the Gowanus marshes to the safety of Washington's encampment on Brooklyn Heights. The Marylanders’ sacrifice became ... More

18. Lefferts Historic House Museum

Pieter Lefferts built the house around 1783, four generations after his ancestors arrived in the New World. Lefferts served as a lieutenant in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and was later appointed to a judgeship in Kings County. He also served as a member of the New York State convention that ratified the Constitution in 1788.

... More

Complete with the family’s original furnishings and personal possessions, the house offers a rare and intimate glimpse of domestic life during the significant era of the 19th-century when New York City was transformed from a colonial seaport into a thriving metropolis.

Period rooms display the family’s furniture from New York’s best... More

20. John Bowne House

The Bowne House is a fine example of mid-17th-century Anglo-Dutch architecture with an exceptional collection of furnishings, but its true magic is its story. The house was built by John Bowne, a prominent Quaker and advocate of religious freedom, who emigrated from England to Boston in 1649 and eventually settled in Flushing, Queens. The... More

21. Kingsland Homestead

It was built circa 1785 for Charles Doughty, the son of Benjamin Doughty, a wealthy Quaker who purchased land on the old turnpike in Flushing. The two-and-a-half-story Homestead was built in a style once common in the area – the Long Island half-house. The name “Kingsland” derives from Doughty’s son-in-law, British sea captain Joseph King, who... More

22. Lewis H. Latimer House Museum

The Lewis H. Latimer House is a modest Queen Anne-style, wood-frame suburban residence constructed between 1887 and 1889 by the Sexton family. Lewis Howard Latimer, an African-American inventor and electrical pioneer and the son of fugitive slaves, lived in the house from 1903 until his death in 1928. The house remained in the Latimer family... More

23. King Manor Museum

In 1820, he delivered two of the most radical speeches heard in the Senate before the Civil War. His opposition to the admission of Missouri as a slave state marked the apogee of his long antislavery career.

In 1805, Rufus King and his wife purchased 90 acres of land and this 18th-century farmhouse. They immediately expanded the House; the... More

First established by the Adriance family in the 17th century, the Farm was operated by a succession of family farmers for nearly 300 years. The current farmhouse was built around 1772 by Jacob Adriance; much of the original building remains standing today.

Three centuries of private ownership came to an end in 1927 when the land, including the... More