On December 23, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Parks Brooklyn Commissioner Martin Maher and Councilmember Brad Lander to announce a $10.9 million investment in the Old Stone House (OSH).
Originally built by Claes Vechte in 1699, this reconstructed house, with its solid stone walls and high brick gables, is a landmark in American military and sports history, built on land stolen from the Lenape tribe in the mid-17th century.
The funding will reconnect the site to the neighborhood to increase accessibility and will fund restoration efforts at the historic site in the heart of Washington Park.
“As a proud Brooklynite, it’s important to preserve our history and shared heritage. This funding will help restore this iconic site, increase accessibility, and ensure visitors can enjoy it for generations to come,” he added.
The funding is part of the larger Gowanus Neighborhood Plan. The multi-faceted revitalization plan includes increased community engagement, affordable housing opportunities, small business support, improvements to community facilities such as the Old Stone House and the Pacific Branch Library, and more.
“This funding will make the Old Stone House accessible to the entire community, enabling everyone to experience OSH’s 2nd floor Great Room – a space for affordable events, the arts and history-based education programs,” said Old Stone House Executive Director Kimberly Maier.
Enhancements to the Old Stone house will include a newly constructed elevator, a new staircase, and the addition of public restrooms within an extension on the north side of the building – a reflection of historic reconstruction’s 1930’s layout. Design will officially begin in 2023, with a construction start date in 2026.
“The Old Stone House is a culturally significant site rich with history, and thanks to Mayor de Blasio, a brighter future,” said Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff.
“Increasing accessibility through investment has been a hallmark of this administration and a necessary step to propel us forward. We hope this cultural institution will continue to enrich and serve the community,” she continued.
The Old Stone House is one of 23 historic sites included in the Historic House Trust of New York City’s collection.
Today, reconstructed from original stones near the original site, the Old Stone House serves as an interpretive and educational center dedicated to Brooklyn history, as well as a cultural resource for the community.
Images courtesy of theoldstonehouse.org.