I love visiting the Hudson River Valley so any event or tour that I can go on is an excuse to come up here. I had visited all the sites that I wanted to see on a trip two weeks earlier but wanted to see them in more detail plus I wanted to take some pictures. The weather finally broke, and it was a much more pleasant 83 degrees as opposed to the 96 degrees the trip before. That makes the trip much nicer.
I asked my aunt along so that we could share in the experience, and I could use her phone to take pictures of the all the sites. It is a much nicer trip when you have someone along who enjoys these things. The one nice thing about traveling to the Fishkill, New York area is that it is only an hour away and a straight run…
Visiting the Van Wyck Homestead is like stepping back into the past to see a part of our nation’s history. The homestead sits at a once pivotal point location in the Hudson River Valley and during the Revolutionary War, George Washington established his main northern supply depot here in October of 1776. After the war was over, the Van Wyck family returned to the home and lived here for five generations until the late 1800’s. The last member of the family, Sidney Van Wyck hung himself in the barn on the property (Van Wyck Homestead pamphlet).
The house was built in two sections. The original section of the house off to the right of the building is the original section of the home that was built in 1732 and the larger section of the home was finished in the 1750’s.
When you enter the homestead, you are greeted in the hallway that runs the length of the main part of the home. To the right of the hallway is old living room and to the right of the hallway is the combination kitchen and dining room. The stairs leading to the upstairs, now serving as offices, are at the end of the hallway.
The former Dining Room of the Van Wyck home with the fireplace of the addition of the house. The crib in front of the fireplace is a recent donation from the Van Wyck family and had been used by the family for generations.
The family portrait above the fireplace was recently returned to the home and fit perfectly above the fireplace. The Spinning Wheel is another family heirloom donated to the house.
An original piece of Van Wyck furniture returned to its home
When you step down the stairs into the smaller part of the original part of the house, you will be greeted in by the original kitchen and living space. This was used by the family for all functions of work and social aspects of the farm.
Items used in Colonial and Victorian kitchens
Items in the Colonial kitchen display which have not changed much over the years.
The Colonial Kitchen at the Van Wyck Homestead
To the right of the hallway is the old Living Room that is now used as a lecture hall and where meetings are held. The room was dedicated to George Washington for the service that he did for the area during the war.
The old Dining Room and lecture room
The Revolutionary War displays in the old Living Room
The room is lined with displays that are dedicated to the family and the war years. All sorts of artifacts and pictures are displayed here.
The display case in the old Dining Room
In the back of the home is the old Library that is now used a Research Library on the history of the area and of the Van Wyck family. Here you can research your roots in the community.
The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead
The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead
When you walk the grounds, the story boards tell the story of the home as it played a role in the history of the region and its place in the war years.
The Path to Victory
On the grounds of the home is also a working garden and the working beehive oven that is a recreation of the original that once stood on the property.
The Van Wyck Garden and outdoor over towards the back
History of the Van Wyck Homestead:
(From the Museum pamphlet)
In 1732, Cornelius Van Wyck from Hempstead, Long Island, acquired 959 acres from Madame Brett. He built the small east wing of the Van Wyck Homestead. By 1757, the larger west wing of the home had been added. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington established his main northern supply depot here in October of 1776. The Van Wyck house was requisitioned by the Continental Army to serve as the depot’s headquarters.
At the end of the Revolutionary War, the house reverted back to the owner, Issac Van Wyck. The old barracks and huts used for the war were torn down and the land went back to farming. The Van Wyck descendants lived in the house until the late 1800’s.
The original part of the house was built in 1732
By the mid-twentieth century, the house stood empty and was slated to be torn down for the new Interstate 84. The Fishkill Historical Society was formed in 1962 and after going to Albany, members were successful in getting the historical building saved and I-84’s plan changed. The Fishkill Historical Society was able to purchase the property and begin the restoration. This work is ongoing as we maintain this historical structure and grounds.
The Homestead is listed on the National Register and is part of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. It is also part of the Rochambeau Trail which celebrates the French Alliance with the new United States.
The historic marker outside the house donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution. A cemetery for soldiers of the American Revolution were buried somewhere near the estate. When graves were discovered south of the museum, this could have been one of the resting places for them (Van Wyck pamphlet).