In 1916, Dyckman Farmhouse was opened up to the public and it has become a frequented place to visit by locals and tourists alike who come here to gain a first-hand view of what life was like for the first settlers and inhabitants of the city. It is also a reminder of the different kind of rural lifestyle once lived by New York's citizens of yesteryear, in sharp contrast to the massive buildings and infrastructure that is found there today.
HistoryWilliam Dyckman, a descendent of a Dutch settler who came to New Amsterdam in the 1600s, built Dyckman Farmhouse in 1784 and lived there with his family for at least 70 years after that. The farmhouse was initially sold in 1870 but two daughters of the Dyckman family decided that the farmhouse was too precious to give up on. They subsequently bought the farmhouse back from its new owner and set about preserving its original heritage. After a lot of work, the house was donated back to the City of New York and opened to the general public in 1916. The house continues to serve as a heritage site for the general public until today.
The GroundsThe Dyckman family once owned hundreds of acres of farmland but today the house sits on half an acre of charming parkland and garden. Many of the plants and flowers found in this garden were planted as part of the 1916 restoration project. An interesting feature in the grounds includes a magnificent black cherry tree that was apparently grafted from an original tree that stood in the Dyckman orchards. Another feature created in 1916 was the reproduction of a smokehouse. Also interesting to visit is the rediscovered military hut. The hut was built on the grounds of the farmhouse based on the excavations of a chimney, walls and floor of a hut used to shelter Hessian and British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The remains of about sixty huts were discovered by the historian, Reginald Pelham Bolton at the beginning of the 1900's.
The HouseSituated about 8 miles north of Times Square, Broadway, Dyckman House immediately draws the visitors attention to its unique architecture among the urban steel. Dyckman House is a two-story structure with a sloping gambrel roof. Although its façade is made from brick, the rest of the house is made out of fieldstone, with the 2nd story made from white clapboard. All the floors in the house are made from wide, unvarnished floorboards. Visitors enter Dyckman House through a central hall that leads to a farm office, a dining room and a parlor. A particularly interesting room in the house is the Relic Room, home to many artifacts and photographs that record two centuries of history of the Inwood/Broadway area. There are many objects relating to the British and German (Hessian) soldiers who camped in the area during the Revolutionary War. Leading down to the cellar kitchen, visitors will be interested to see a Nine Man Morris game board inscribed into a large rock outcropping. It is reasonable to assume that the children of Dyckman House used this game board as entertainment. The kitchen itself is home to many wonderful period utensils such as waffle iron and pewter dishes. There is also an impressive bake oven and hearth. The bedrooms, located on the second floor all include period furnishings for visitors to experience the house as it stood back then.
Special EventsDyckman House is home to many regular events that take place through the year. Spring, in particular, is a lovely time to visit to house, when the flowers in the garden are in full bloom. Storytelling hours over the weekend and guided tours for adult groups of up to 20 are also offered to visitors.
Guided ToursThere are several guided tours available at Dyckman House. The standard guided tour of the farmhouse teaches visitors about the people who once lived there, the farmlands that surrounded the house and the reason for the house’s preservation. Another guided tour – aimed at children - examines the way that Manhattan’s past has changed so drastically, with particular focus on Dyckman House. This tour also examines the way that the house and the surrounding neighborhood have transformed over time. Finally, a tour of the gardens shows how the landscape of Dyckman House changes with the seasons. Tours are either free or else come with a minimal admission fee. Management lets visitors know that donations are always appreciated.
Visiting Dyckman FarmhouseDyckman House is conveniently located in the Inwood area of Manhattan, and easily accessible by public transportation, making it a popular destination for tourists. The farmhouse is part of the not-for-profit Historic House Trust organization that works together with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure that houses of cultural and architectural significance are preserved in the area. As such, Manhattan’s last Dutch colonial farmhouse still standing is guaranteed to enjoy the protection and preservation efforts of the city, so that future generations can take a step back in time and see and experience the way that the original settlers lived.
Location: 4881 Broadway at 204th Street, New York City, NY, 10034
Click here to visit Dyckman Farmhouse official website.
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