I have decided to add a recurring feature to this blog that I call "People, Places, Things." This will be a series of profiles of, well, people, places and things connected with the American War for Independence and/or the Yankee Doodle Spies series.
The first of these highlights the Vechte-Cortelyou House in Brooklyn, New York, site of the high-water mark of the Battle of Long Island."Here on the 27th of August, 1776, Two hundred and fifty out of four hundred brave Maryland soldiers, under the command of Lord STIRLING, were killed in combat with British troops under CORNWALLIS."
...Inscription on a plaque commemorating the action near the Vechte-Cortelyou House, now called the Old Stone House.
Frontal View of the House today
The Vechte-Cortelyou House in Brooklyn, New York, was built in 1699 by a Dutch settler named Claes Arenston Vechte. Vechte and his family worked the land, farming the neat fields and grazing animals in the verdant pastures of this rich farmland. They also gathered oysters and other bounty from the nearby Gowanus Creek, which they used to ship their produce to Manhattan. Around the time of the revolution the land was leased to the Cortelyou family, and one of them later purchased the property. The simple architecture is classic Dutch colonial with a mixture of stone and mortar, steep tiled roof and a wood shingled appendage (what we might today call a "bump-out") that appears to function as the kitchen.
|Vechte-Cortelyou House Circa 1700|
|William Alexander, aka Lord Stirling|
The Original House
Back View of The Old Stone House Today
Sadly, little of the feel or look of the times can be found there. However, nearby Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery do present views that might have been "enjoyed" by Lords Stirling and Cornwallis back in August of 1776.
As you can see, the reconstructed house is smack in the heart of a major urban area. Note the Gowanus Canal, the remains of the Gowanus Creek, not too far distant.
Where in the world is the Cortelyou House?