Saturday, October 25, 2008

Battle between boroughs over oldest building

There's a battle between Brooklyn and Queens over which borough is home to the oldest building in the city:

Bowne House

• Address: 37-01 Bowne St., Flushing
• Construction: Began in 1650s
• Architecture: Dutch Colonial
• Claim to fame: John Bowne was arrested in the house in 1662 for allowing Quakers - a religion banned in New Amsterdam - to worship there. His successful fight against the law was an iconic moment for religious freedom in America.
• Landmark designation: Feb. 15, 1966

Wyckoff Farmhouse

• Address: 5816 Clarendon Road, East Flatbush, Brooklyn
• Construction: Began in 1652
• Architecture: Dutch Colonial
• Claim to fame: Pieter Claesen Wyckoff lived there after acquiring the land through connections with New Amsterdam Gov. Peter Stuyvesant.
• Landmark designation: Oct. 14, 1965

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you all overlooked the Onderdonk House on FLushing Avenue?

Anonymous said...

House from the 1660s, burned down in the 1970s and rebuilt. No, I don't think it was overlooked, although since it sits on the border and the "boundary rock" is in the backyard, maybe both boroughs could claim it.

Anonymous said...

The boundry rock at Onderdonk was another Stanley Stunt.

It was feet away from where the real Arbitration Rock was supposed to be and he just went ahead wasting public money and dug it up, and dragged it over to the house.

Nothing is worse than an amateur with a backhoe.

Stanley made bad history (how many times can you talk over and over again about the Underground Railroad), ran QHS into the ground, and spread those nafarious Queensmarks around the borough.

miles mullin said...

Queens College did the dig at Bowne House (and found the de riguer slavery angle) to give their work (and our history) the proper political spin.

When a university with the first rank in credentials gets involved I will believe in changing Bowne Houses's history.

The fact is Waycoff was built is 1652.

Bowne was not in Flushing when the Remonstrance was signed in 1657 - or if he was - his credit for the struggle for religous freedom would be clouded for it would mean that he refused to sign the Remonstrance.

Then all the credit would go to Edward Hart, the true moving force behind the exercise.

Bowne House is a decade newer than Wycoff.

Anonymous said...

Actually the basement of Oderdonk likely dates from between 1640s and the 1650s.

Perhaps the strongest claim for the oldest house in Queens is the Smith-Riker-Lent house part of which are from the 1650s.

Frank said...

Miles Mullin: You don't believe the Bownes owned slaves?

There was no need for an archaeological dig to confirm that the Bowne family owned slaves as it's right in the census records.

The excavations were part of a larger study of the house that found that the house's history isn't correct. As with many historical accounts of early homes they are part oral history and part conjecture. The work done there is showing that the history needs to be changed.