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Bennett House | by Emilio Guerra
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Bennett House

Historic Richmondtown, Staten Island, New York City, New York, United States

 

Simple in appearance and built in the vernacular of the time, this one and one-half story stone farmhouse with a low cellar and gable roof has the scale and rugged character of a prairie homestead. Laid up in random fieldstone, the superior masonry construction of its rough walls is one of the reasons why the dwelling has withstood the ravages of over two hundred years and maintains its picturesqueness as a pre-Revolutionary War farmhouse of quality and distinction.

 

The original portion, consisting of one large room and attic, was built in 1756, and a section twice that size was believed to have been added about 1764. A low porch, with its back wall whitewashed, rises one step above the ground and extends the length of the House. Above it may be seen two dormers in the steeply pitched roof which were added at a later date.

 

Six simple square columns support the porch roof. In the shingle covered gable above the stone wall at one end of the house, two double hung sash type windows open into the attic story. The lintels over the doors are simple unadorned smooth faced stone.

 

The Bennett House stands on Its original site. It was built in 1837 in a restrained version of the Greek Revival style and is a two-story frame building of clapboard, with an extension of similar construction and design. The house is being restored and will be open to the public. It will contain one of the refreshment centers within tne Restoration, an old fashioned ice cream parlor.

 

It is believed that Col. Thomas Dongan a grand-nephew of Governor Dongan, built this farmhouse in 1756, Four years latex-he sold the building and 175 acres to the widow Nolly Hogewout and her two sons. Her will, drawn in 1761, gave one-fourth part of her share to each of her four daughters. About this time, Joseph Christopher, who married Charity Hagewout, acquired the small farmhouse. In 176b he mortgaged the property, and it is assumed that the money ho obtained was used to enlarge the House to its present size.

 

It has been documented that Joseph Christopher, the owner of the House during the Revolutionary War, was a member of the Committee of Safety and a descendant of Hans Christofel who had a land grant in 1685. Tradition connects this farmhouse with patriotic Staten Islanders during the war. The proximity of the homestead and property to the Great Swamp of those days offered opportunities for escape, in case of surprise, for those who attended the clandestine meetings hold in this House.

 

- From the 1967 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

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Taken on September 21, 2011