Historic Huguenot Street
81 Huguenot Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
My review on TripAdvisor:
Plan your visit:
For current information on guided tours, group tour reservations, school groups, special events or accessibility, call (845) 255-1660 or visit http://www.huguenotstreet.org.
Our free Walking Tour mobile app features histories of the houses on the street with archival photos as well as photos of the house interiors and the collection pieces within. Mobile users can download the app on both the App Store and Google Play.
History of the site:
At our 10 acre National Historic Landmark District, visitors experience more than 300 years of history through the lens of a French Huguenot community as it evolved over time. Guided tours begin with an introduction to the pre-colonial Munsee Esopus landscape dating back 7000 years and the religion, culture and architecture of New Paltz’s earliest European settlers and enslaved Africans. The experience continues as guests visit fully furnished houses reflecting unique human narratives and changing tastes across the Colonial and Federal periods, through the Gilded Age and into the early 20th century.
I visited Historic Huguenot Street one afternoon after visiting here about five years earlier during the holidays. The houses are easy to tour and the street is blocked so that you can walk amongst the houses. There are tours every half hour when the site is open. Here you can tour inside the houses instead of just the grounds. On a nice day, it is interesting to look over the architecture of the homes.
Make sure that you take time to look at the historical cemetery by the church at the end of the block. Some of the original settlers are buried here. It is also nice to tour around the Waykill River.
Take the extra time to visit the gift shop and see the information video on the site and look over the literature of the site.
The area has a pretty interesting history.
History of the Huguenot Street Historic District:
The site is owned and operated by Historic Huguenot Street (HHS), which was founded in 1894. In 1899, Historic Huguenot Street purchased the Jean Hasbrouck House as the first house museum on the street. In the 1950’s and 60’s, the organization and related family associations purchased most of the remaining stone houses in the district and subsequently opened them as museums. These acquisitions were funded in large part by descendants of the original Huguenot founders. Their family associations play a key role in supporting the institution today.
The Individual Houses:
Dating to the early 18th century, the house was originally a one room building built with the narrow or gable end facing the street-then the prevailing style of the low countries of Northern Europe. Two expansions were built later as was a small cellar that was used to house African slaves. The house was built by the Beiver family, one of the founding families and subsequently sold to the Dutch Elting family.
Abraham Hasbrouck House:
The structure as the Abraham Hasbrouck House was built in three phases in the 1720’s and 30’s. The first of the house-the center room-was constructed in 1721 by Daniel Hasbrouck, the son of Abraham Hasbrouck the patentee. The date 1721 is based on recent dendrochronology, which is a process by which wooden structural members are dated. This house represents a New World innovation in Dutch-style architecture. The initial houses in the Dutch region of New York, such as New Amsterdam, Albany and Kingston were built in the tradition of Dutch cities with the gable-ends to the street, which conserves street frontage. The basic structure of the house consists of a series of H-bents which spread the weight of the house across the entire expanse. The original one room house exhibited several defining elements of Dutch architecture, the jambless fireplace being the principal and most recognized feature in the house. Recently re-opened to the public in July 2012 following a restoration and reinterpretation focusing on the life of Widow Wyntje.
Jean Hasbrouck House:
Also built in 1721 by Jean’s son Jacob (and perhaps incorporating elements of an early home built by New Paltz founder Jean Hasbrouck), this home is an excellent example of Hudson Valley Dutch architecture and the showpiece of Historic Huguenot Street. A National Historic Landmark in its own right, it boasts the only remaining original jambless fireplace of any of the Huguenot Street houses and is one of the few surviving examples in what was formerly the New Netherland.
In 2006, the north wall of the house was carefully dismantled, repaired and reconstructed. Reproduction Dutch-style casement windows were installed. Interior restoration followed, resulting in a house that is an excellent example of how a comfortable family in the region lived in the mid-18th century.
Built circa 1705 for the DuBois family, it might have served as a fortified place for the small community if needed. Originally a smaller 1 1/2 story structure, this building was expanded to its current size in the late 1830’s. Some historians and antiquarians believe that the presence of “gun ports” made it a fort but there is no evidence of the presence of any such portholes before the 19th century. The DuBois Fort currently serves as the orientation center and gift shop as well as a location for special events. Guest can purchase their admission tickets and memberships at this building. Over the last 300 years, it has also been used as a residence and a restaurant.
The Freer House is one of the six 18th century stone houses owned by Historic Huguenot Street. It was altered in various points in its approximately 250 years of occupancy with its most recent major alterations occurring in 1943 when it was purchased by Rev. John Wright Follette, a direct descendant of it s original builder, Hugo Freer. Over the years, the interior was modernized into a 20th century idea of a colonial home. This structure is not currently open to the public.
The original portion of the house was built around 1720 by Patentee Pierre Deyo. It began as a one room house was subsequently expanded to two rooms and ultimately to three when a stone addition was added off the rear by Pierre’s grandson Abraham. Circumstances for this house changed dramatically when at the height of the Colonial Revival movement, two descendants of Pierre Deyo, Abraham and Gertrude Brodhead, inherited the house. Wanting to live on the street of their ancestors but also wanted a modern, gracious home that reflected their affluence, the Brodheads partially dismantled the original stone house and build a grand Queen Anne home around it in 1894. They also significantly changed their surrounding property in essence changing a small village farm into a handsomely appointed and landscaped mini-estate. The house passed out of Deyo family ownership in 1915. It was a private home until 1971, when it was purchased by the Deyo-Family Association and donated in order to be opened to be opened to the public as a house museum. The home was most recently restored in 2003 and features circa 1915 interiors.
The patentee Pierre Deyo died in 1700, so couldn’t have built the house in 1720 as stated. Per the plaque mounted outside the house it was built in 1692.
Crispell Memorial French Church:
Since the community’s founding, there have been four sanctuaries built on what is today called Huguenot Street. The French-speaking Protestants who settled in New Paltz built their first church in 1683-a simple log building. This was replaced in 1717 with a straightforward, square stone building that reflected the permanence of the settlement. This existing building in the burying ground is a highly conjectural reconstructed of the 1717 building near its original location.
As the New Paltz community increased in size throughout the 18th century, a larger church became necessary. A second stone church was built down the street in 1772. When it became too small, it was demolished and replaced by a third church built in 1839. This church survives today and is home to an active Reformed congregation.
The reconstructed church is named in honor of Antoine Crispell, one of the twelve founders or patentees of New Paltz and a direct ancestor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was built as the result of a fundraising campaign led by the Crispell Family Association. The Crispell Family Foundation opted to create this reconstruction church in their ancestor’s honor. It was completed in 1972.
The 1717 church was designed to reflect Reform thinking; the pulpit was placed in a central location and the pews were placed so that everyone could see and hear more equally. This expressed the concept that each person had a direct relationship with God, rather than one mediated through a church hierarchy.
Built int 1799 by Ezekiel Elting, a prosperous merchant who was born in the Bevier-Elting House, this stone and brick building is quite different from the earlier stone houses on Huguenot Street. Its Georgian-style architecture reflects the transition of New Paltz from a French and Dutch settlement to an Anglo-American community and increasing refinement in architecture in this period as settlements matured. The house shows the changes in architectural style from the early 18th century. This house reflects the several changes in the society and home life of New Paltz in the early 19th century.
Formerly a glass factory, Deyo Hall is the site of event and meeting facilities and public restrooms. Collections storage is housed in this building.
Roosa House Library and Archives:
Located in the Roosa House, the Library and Archives at Historic Huguenot Street is a research facility devoted primarily to the history and genealogy of the Huguenot and Dutch settlers of the Hudson Valley. It also functions as a general repository for local history, regardless of ethnicity or religious persuasion. The collections consist of family genealogies, church, cemetery and bible records, wills and deeds, census records, genealogical periodicals, county histories and publications relating to Huguenot ancestry. Genealogists, local historians and other interested parties can access the collections by appointment. The colorful paint replicates the original colors of the house in 1891.
Native American presence on Huguenot Street:
Historians and archaeologist have learned more about the continuing relations between the Esopus, the original inhabitants of the area and the Huguenots. Some results of research can be found at the HHS site at “Relations between the Huguenots of New Paltz, NY and the Esopus Indians (http://www.huguenotstreet.org/library_archives/exhibits_research/Indian_affairs.html). The “Before Hudson” exhibit, currently on view at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, shows some of the highlights of archaeological excavation in our area with artifacts dating back 6,000-8,000 years ago.
(This information from the homes is from Wiki)