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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From modest farmers’ cottages to grand mansions, New York City’s historic houses chronicle 350 years of our history, culture,... more » architecture—and food!
At this year’s festival, we’ll be celebrating our unique heritage through culinary delights from around the world and across time at historic houses throughout
New York City.
The Historic House Trust’s Executive Director, Franklin Vagnone, and his “gang” will hop in an a Toyota Prius hybrid (one of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s fleet) with his smartphone and the EveryTrail app and stop at all 23 historic sites in our collection. They will enjoy the food and events of the festival while photographing and blogging all along the way.
Join them in this search for what makes New York City so diverse and tasty! less «
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 the street. The small home served three generations of the Dyckman family until 1868. As the character of the neighborhood changed from rural to urban, the old Farmhouse slid into disrepair.
In 1915, Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, daughters of the last Dyckman to grow up in the house, bought the building and worked with their husbands, curator Bashford Dean and architect Alexander McMillan Welch, to restore it. The sisters sought to preserve and exhibit not just a family relic but an entire way of life. They filled the rooms with objects that evoked their vision of New York’s Dutch heritage. In the garden, a fieldstone smokehouse was added and a half-timbered wood hut—originally built in the area by Hessian mercenaries during the Revolutionary War—was reconstructed. When the restoration was completed in 1916, the house and grounds were donated to the City of New York as a museum of early American life. Today, education programs continue the sisters’ goal of preserving the past for future generations.
The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
4881 Broadway at 204th Street
New York, NY 10034
Subway: A or #1 to 207th Street.
Bus: M100 to 204th St.
Wednesday - Saturday from 11:00am - 4:00pm.
Sunday from 12:00 - 4:00pm.
Closed Monday and TuesdayLess
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 British and Hessian commanders occupied the house after Washington’s retreat from New York.
In the summer of 1790, Washington returned to the Mansion and dined with the members of his cabinet. Among those at the table were Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Knox.
In 1810, wealthy French wine merchant Stephen Jumel and his American wife, Eliza, purchased the Mansion, and spared no expense refurbishing it. In 1828, they returned from Paris with crates of furniture and paintings, much of which they claimed had belonged to Napoleon. A year after Stephen Jumel died in 1832, his widow married former vice president Aaron Burr. The marriage ended quickly and Eliza lived alone in the house until her death in 1865.
Opened as Washington’s Headquarters by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1904, the Mansion has served as a museum for more than a century. Today, the Mansion features restored period rooms from the Morris, Washington, and Jumel eras.
Morris-Jumel Mansion is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by Morris-Jumel Mansion Inc., and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum
Roger Morris Park
65 Jumel Terrace at 160th Street
New York, NY 10032
Subway: C to 160th Street
Bus: M2 to 160th Street and Edgecombe Avenue; M3 or M18 to 160th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue; M101 to 161st Street and Amsterdam Avenue (walk one block east)
Wednesday - Sunday: 10am - 4pm. Mondays & Tuesdays: by appointment.Less
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 edge. The Lighthouse warned ships away from the shore as they made their way down the narrow channel between New York and New Jersey.
However, when construction of the George Washington Bridge was completed in 1931, the brilliant lights of the bridge’s 600-foot towers overwhelmed the little Lighthouse. In 1947, it was officially decommissioned and abandoned, and by 1951, the Little Red Lighthouse was slated for demolition – its cast-iron shell to be sold for scrap.
Hearing this news, thousands of children who had loved Swift’s book started a nationwide campaign to save the Little Red Lighthouse. Thanks in part to their efforts, ownership of the Lighthouse was transferred from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
Today, visitors climb a long, iron stair to the top of the tower, where the lantern room is again fitted with a working lens that blinks proudly at cargo barges and passenger ships sailing under the George Washington Bridge.
The Little Red Lighthouse is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Little Red Lighthouse
Fort Washington Park,
178th Street and the Hudson River,
For a schedule of tours, call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.
Subway: A train to 181st St. and walk west to Plaza Lafayette.
Cross the footbridge and take a left down the path under the overpass.
Cross over the railroad tracks and follow the path to the left (south).
The lighthouse is almost directly under the George Washington Bridge.
For information about visiting the lighthouse, please call the Urban Park Rangers at (212) 304-2365.Less
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 utility of the Swedish School House, Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park, secured an appropriation from the City of New York to purchase it. In 1877, the little building was dismantled once again, and reconstructed on the west side of the Park.
In 1939, New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses created a touring marionette theater to perform on playgrounds during the summer and in school auditoriums during the winter. Eight years later, in 1947, the troupe moved into the Swedish School House, which thereafter served as its workshop and headquarters. In 1973, the interior of the building was redesigned to incorporate a small theater for indoor marionette performances, as well as space for the traveling theater.
Painstakingly restored in 1996, the building retains much of its original 19th-century materials, including the patterned shingles, simple hardware, and hand-rubbed interior paneling. Audiences continue to enjoy marionette performances of classic tales. Talented craftsmen make marionettes for each production, contributing to the archive of historic marionettes every year.
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the City Parks Foundation, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
Central Park 79th Street and West Drive
Manhattan, New York 10023
Subway: 1 to 79th Street; B or C to 81st Street
Bus: M79 to Central Park West
Hours subject to change, please call for the latest schedule and reservations. Reservations are required for all shows.
Adult $8; Children $5; School groups and non-profit organizations $4.50Less
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 City of New York appropriated the estate, incorporating its 11 acres of grounds into the surrounding park that was renamed for Carl Schurz in 1910.
After years of use as a comfort station and ice-cream stand, Gracie Mansion became the first home of the Museum of the City of New York. When the museum moved to a larger building, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced City authorities to designate the Mansion as the official residence of the mayor. In 1942, Fiorello H. La Guardia moved into Gracie Mansion.
In 1966, the Mansion was enlarged with the construction of the Susan E. Wagner Wing, which includes a ballroom and two additional rooms. Under the guidance of The Gracie Mansion Conservancy, major restorations to the Mansion were undertaken between 1981 and 1984, and in 2002.
The 2002 restoration transformed Gracie Mansion into the "People's House" and increased accessibility to the public and City agencies. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and South African President Nelson Mandela are among the many notable visitors.
Gracie Mansion is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Carl Schurz Park
88th Street & East End Avenue
New York, NY 10128
Subway: #4, #5, or #6 to 86th Street
Bus: M86 to 86th Street and York Avenue.
General tours are on Wednesdays at 10am,11am,1pm and 2pm and last approximately forty-five minutes. Tea tours are available for groups of 25-50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. School tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All tours by reservation only. Reservation required for all tours. To make reservations please call
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 cabinetmakers, high-style decorative objects, china and glassware, utilitarian household items, as well as clothing, books, and other personal memorabilia. The late-Federal and Greek Revival building is among the finest surviving examples of the architecture of the period. Highlights include the formal Greek Revival double parlors with black-and-gold marble mantelpieces, Ionic columns, mahogany pocket doors, and elaborate ornamental plasterwork. Matching gas chandeliers from the 1830s hang from the 13-foot ceilings.
The Museum’s collection of 19th-century costumes and textiles is among the most significant in New York City and includes more than 30 dresses from the 1820s to the 1880s documented as having belonged to the Tredwell women.
The Museum offers educational programs on 19th-century life and culture for adults and schoolchildren, and hosts guided tours, lectures, readings, concerts, exhibitions, performances, and other events throughout the year.
The Merchant's House Museum is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, operated by the Old Merchants House, Inc., and is a member of the Historic House Trust.
Merchant's House Museum
29 East Fourth Street
New York, NY 10003
Subway: R/W to 8th Street or #6 to Astor Place
Bus: M5, M6 to Broadway/4th Street; M102 to 4th Street; M1 to Broadway/8th Street
Thursday - Monday: 12pm - 5pm.
Group and school tours by appointment.
Adults: 8.00; Students & Seniors: 5.00; Historic House Trust Members: Free.Less