I love a good piece of history, and if there’s an interesting story attached to it, so much the better. New York City is full of great tales and has history to spare – which is probably why it’s a no-brainer that the background of the city’s oldest standing building is worth a share.
According to legendary NYC sightseeing guide Tommy Silk of Landmarks of New York, the Wyckoff House is the oldest (standing) – and one of the most interesting – buildings you can find.
“The Wyckoff House is the oldest building left in NYC. It dates back to at least 1652 and was occupied by the Wyckoff family for centuries.”
Now a museum and working farm, you can check the place out for yourself at 5816 Clarendon Road, which is in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn.
A Dutch official named Wouter van Twiller built the house in 1636, before Pieter Claesen Wyckoff, another Dutch immigrant, bought it in 1652. His family kept hold of the property for centuries before it was sold to a private buyer in 1937.
After that, the Wyckoff House & Association, Inc. was formed to protect the home from potentially being demolished. They officially purchased the home in 1961 and donated the property to the Historic House Trust of the New York City Parks Department in 1969.
It remained closed to the public until 2001.
“Today, the Wyckoff House Museum’s primary mission is to preserve, interpret, and operate New York’s oldest building and the surrounding one-and-a-half acres of park. Through innovative educational and farm-based programs we build cultural and agricultural connections within our community, emphasizing immigration, family, food, and community through history.”
In 1965, the Wyckoff House was actually the first structure to receive “Landmark Status” and to be designated a New York City Landmark.
Have you visited the Wyckoff House personally?
If so, we’d love to hear in the comments about your experience and whether or not you’d recommend a tour!