Sunday, September 18, 2016

Van Wyck Homestead Fishkill, NY

Traveling east or west on I-84 in New York, take exit 13 for the Van Wyck Homestead in Fishkill. Fishkill has a long history and was the location of a supply depot in the Revolutionary War. At the center of this was the Van Wyck Homestead which became the headquarters of the complex. It is likely that it was a tavern before that. Wine corks have been found that say Cornelius Van Wyck -1732 which seem to indicate that this was indeed a tavern.

During the Revolutionary War, many famous people were known to have been in the area and the house including George Washington, Israel Putnam, The Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

Cornelius was a farmer, he was also a surveyor and came here to survey the land for the original owner. He then purchased the farm and moved here with his wife and seven children. It was his grandson Isaac, who owned the farm at the time of the Revolutionary War.

There is no entrance fee to tour the house, donations are welcome, but it is visited on a guided tour. The house is open on Saturday and Sunday, June through October from 1-4 p.m. We arrived at about 3 p.m. on a Sunday in July and were the only ones there.

Our first stop was the Military Room, housing the original survey map of the property as well as lots of military information about what was going on in Fishkill during the War of Independence. Our docent was very knowledgeable and was able to field questions with ease. You can pretty much determine how much or how little information is imparted to you.

When you are done in the military room, you cross the hall into the original 1732 part of the house. It is pretty much just a walk through with any questions answered that you have. When you are done with the interior, you can take your tour outside on your own. A number map takes you to different plaques around the property giving lots of additional information.

For history buffs or those who enjoy historic properties, this is an interesting place to spend an hour or so.

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