Dutch houses in NYC: Old Stone House - Vechte-Cortelyou House

Brooklyn Travel Blog

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Old Stone House in 2012

Presidents' Day! So, I had a day off. And against the earlier forecast it turned out beautiful sunny weather. Too late to head out, but why not stay inside the city? 

In November I got a nice gift from Willem, a book about Dutch New York, a book that lists remaining structures from the Dutch period of New York City and State. I have visited several of these sites, like the Lefferts Homestead in Brooklyn, the Dyckman House in Manhattan and recently the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff Farmhouse in Brooklyn.

My today's choice was another Brooklyn house, Old Stone House, also known as the Vechte-Cortelyou House.

Old Stone House in ?? (image: internet)
A house with a lot of history, a thriving period followed by being burnt, razed and buried, to becoming restored en being the heart of a New York City Park.

Stone House was built in 1699 by the Dutch immigrant Claes Arentson Vechte. At that time the area was just fields and the now nearby highly polluted Gowanus Canal was just the oyster-rich Gowanus Creek. The harvests of farming and fishing were shipped via the Gowanus Bay to Manhattan. During the independence war in 1776, the house was a prominent point in the battle between the Americans and the English. The house ended up sold to Jacques Cortelyou, another immigrant from The Netherlands, (like me from the city of Utrecht).

By the end of the 1800s the house was sold again and housed a person (caretaker) for the last time. Then it served as a club house for a professional baseball team, the predecessors of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1897, finally, the glory of the 198-year-old house came to an end when it was burnt, razed, and later buried during grading work of the nearby 4th Avenue.

Old Stone House in ?? (image: wikipedia)
33 years later, in 1930, the foundations of Old Stone House were discovered. Borough President James Byrne, had it restored, a short distance from its original location, using many of the original stones. Nowadays, after two more restorations (1970s and 1996) the house stands in the heart of the J.J. Byrne park and is open on Sundays (not on Presidents' Day unfortunately) for visitors.

While I was sitting in front of the house imagining what the house could tell if it could speak. I all of a sudden heard Dutch. A young Dutch couple was playing in the park, with their kid. The house apparently keeps attracting the Dutch...

More pictures (and historic pictures) below. Some other nice (copyrighted, so I did not put them in my blog) pictures are here and here.

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Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in ?? (image: inte…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: int…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: wiki…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: wik…
Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in 2012
Old Stone House in 2012
On my way back to the Subway. On P…
On my way back to the Subway. On …
Old Stone House in ?? (image: theo…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: the…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: www.…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: www…
Old Stone House in 1699 (image: ww…
Old Stone House in 1699 (image: w…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: www.…
Old Stone House in ?? (image: www…
A real photo of Old Stone House in…
A real photo of Old Stone House i…
Old Stone House in ?? probably in …
Old Stone House in ?? probably in…
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photo by: missandrea81