Bronck House Museum - Day Trippin' in Greene County, Part II

Monday, July 30, 2018
Continuing with my series featuring the beautiful Greene County, today I take you on a tour of the Bronck House in Coxsackie NY.  Whether you're a history buff at heart, have Dutch blood anywhere in your DNA or simply enjoy beautiful architectural history, the Bronck House has something for you.  We first spotted the Bronck House during our initial trips to Greene County last year when we visited to photograph the Coxsackie Owls and Catskill Cats.  Having passed it a few times now, we decided it was high time we check it out, so after our delicious lunch at Frank Guido's Port of Call last week, we spent the afternoon exploring what is now considered the oldest surviving home in Upstate New York.
Pieter and Hilletje Bronck of Quackebrugge, Holland were married in 1645, both 28 years of age.  In 1652 Pieter and Hilletje came to the New World to begin a new life.  They initially settled in Beverwyck, a fur trading community north of Fort Orange on the Hudson in Dutch Colony of New Netherland (later renamed and developed as Albany NY).  They opened a tavern and brewery there which catered to traders, trappers and travelers.  In 1660 they felt it time for a change, so they purchased land from the native Mahicans 20 miles south of Beverwyck in Coxsackie.  Pieter Bronck was the first European to build a home in Coxsackie.
The first section of the Bronck Estate was built in 1663.  It was a single room, 20' x 20' stone dwelling with a cellar and attic.  That one-room home provided an area for all of the Bronck's living needs.  Seven generations of Pieter's descendants would pass the family dwelling from father to child...276 years of tradition. Pieter died in 1669 but the home was passed down the generations until 1939 when the last family owner, Leonard Bronck Lapman, willed the property to the Greene County Historical Society.  It has remained open to the public as a museum ever since.  What remains today is a collection of buildings, barns, out buildings each unique and reminiscent of a time gone by.




This is the Kitchen Dependency - a detached kitchen behind the main house.  It featured a cellar and loft and was used for cooking and storing food.  (Photos were not allowed inside the buildings.)



1738 brick-covered house on the right - Hudson Valley Dutch architecture








It 




 One of the most interesting stories we heard during our tour.....you all may remember that Coxsackie means 'hoot of the owl'  or 'place of the owl' according to the native American Mahican Indians.  Back when this home was first built, it wasn't all secure like today.  The roof was thatched and the home was often the home to various critters and rodents along with the Bronck family.  Owls were encouraged to take up residence to help rid the home of unwanted four-footed visitors and these large openings in the facade would be a welcome entry for owls and other large birds to enter.  Later windows were added but the openings are large enough that they still accommodate nesting birds and sometimes even owls.  Look closely through the openings and you'll see the glass on the inside of the very thick walls.
The Bronck House is open from Memorial Day through October 15.  It's closed on Monday and Tuesday, but is open from 12:00-4:00 Wednesday-Friday, 10:00-4:00 on Saturday and 1:00-4:00 on Sunday.  Admission is $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for 12-15 yr. olds, $2.00 for 5-11 yr olds and children under 5 are free.  Our tour guide, Shelby, was a walking/talking encyclopedia.  Our tour of just the home and kitchen dependency lasted two hours.  I'm assuming that's longer than the norm and may have been longer and more detailed than necessary.  Having said that, I will say that by the end of our tour, I'm quite confident that Shelby shared pretty much all there was to share about Pieter Bronck, his estate, his ancestors and descendants, the Bronck collectibles and the Dutch establishment in New York.  I can also say we got out money's worth.....many times over.  This is a truly beautiful piece of history, just a short drive from Albany,  a step off Route 9W across from the Coxsackie Correctional Facility.  The address is 90 County Highway 42, Coxsackie NY.  For more information, please use the links included below, including some videos I found online.
There's so much to see and do in Greene County.  I hope this short series encourages you to take a drive to explore for yourself.  Between the Coxsackie owls, the Catskill cats, the Cairo bears, the Bronck House and my next two upcoming posts featuring 'Think Big - A Tiny House Resort' and the 'Mahayana Buddhist Retreat', I promise you'll be heading there soon.  If you happened to miss our  blog post about lunch at Frank Guido's Port of Call.....it's a good place to fuel up before visiting the Bronck House:
Thanks for visiting Life As I See It.  I hope you'll stop by again soon.  If you enjoy the blog, consider subscribing!  No junk, no emails, just each new post in your email.  You never miss a post.  If you're new to the blog, check out my Directory for previous posts including destinations in New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, posts about animals, shops, restaurants, gardens, Food for Thought and more!  Hope to see you back here soon!

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