Saturday, June 20, 2015

THE OLD STONE HOUSE – circa 1699

The Old Stone House was built in 1699 as a Dutch farmhouse by the Vechte family.  The original house burned down in 1897, but was rebuilt of the same stones.  The house is still standing (336 – 3rd Street) and it’s worth a visit because one of the major battles of the Revolutionary War took place around it.

Control of The Old Stone House was a measure of who was winning that Revolutionary War battle.  256 men died in that battle and were buried in a mass grave at what is now the southwest corner of 3rd Street and 7th Avenue.  The gravesite actually stretched to 4th Street, which is now a block of row houses turned into apartment houses where apartments rent for around $4,000 a month.  One has to wonder if the graves of hundreds of men who died bloody deaths and are buried underneath them, gives off some kind of eerie vibe in those homes.

The Old Stone House is now managed and maintained by the New York Parks Department and welcomes visitors.  They’ll tell you that it’s not only a memorial to the Revolutionary War (and there are lots of war memorials in New York City), it used to be a clubhouse for the Superbas baseball team.

The Superbas – later known as the Brooklyn Dodgers – played at Washington Baseball Park (long ago torn down) which was built between 4th & 3rd Avenues and 1st and 3rd Streets in Brooklyn – near the famous Gowanus Canal.  The Gowanus Canal is renowned for being so heavily polluted that at one point the EPA actually demanded it be cleaned up, which may have happened.  (It’s hard to tell).  The baseball park was built next to The Old Stone House and the players used it as their clubhouse and a place to store their gear.  The Superbas used to play the Boston Beaneaters, who eventually became the Boston Braves. 

The Dodgers got that name because when the Superbas started playing at Ebbets Field – near the intersection of Flatbush and Ocean/Malbone Avenues – people had to dodge the trolley cars.

Besides being a place of interesting historical value, The Old Stone House hosts events, parties, and weddings.  The King’s County Fiber Festival will be held at the Old Stone House in October.  Artists, dyers, knitters, crocheters, quilters, and weavers will be giving exhibitions and demonstrations.    

post by Alana Cash