The Stone House
Sacred Ground of the American Revolution, Colonial America, and Brooklyn Dodger fans everywhere!!
A Public Private Partnership: The First Battle Revival Alliance
Cortelyou: It's a name we take for granted in Brooklyn. In life, the story of the Cortelyou name in Brooklyn begins in 1652 when plantation owner Van Werckhoven, who dreamed of a loving prosperous new community on Western Long Island, left to Holland on business with his homestead to be run by Jacque Cortelyou. The tutor of Werckhoven's children, he was a unique renaissance man, educated in literature, science, politics, medicine, and philosophy. Cortelyou's good will to men was grudgingly recorded by Labadist travelers as they recorded of him:
The worst of it is, he was a good Cartesian, and not a good Christian, regulating himself and all externals by reason and justice only; nevertheless he regulated all things better by these principles than most people who bear the name of Christian, or pious people.
Peoples of the 17th century took their strains of Christian faith deadly seriously (see Salem: Witch Trial, Sara Hutchinson: Anabaptism, Quakers: early Colonial American Period) and such praise did not come easy to the people of the faith. The Werckhoven child he was to tutor tragically died while his father was away. But Cortelyou, loyal to the principles of his oath, refused to let Werckhoven's dream die with the boy. He petitioned the Director General of these Dutch American lands, to permit him to develop a new town on the Bay of the great River - in today's New Utrecht Brooklyn. He surveyed the lands and divided it up into 21 lots of 50 acres and a house lot of 4 acres to each settler, 2 being retained for the poor.
The Stone House, built by the Vechte family and later purchased by the Cortelyou family, is sacred ground in Brooklyn. The site of the most heroic and important action of the American Revolution, it was originally part of the marsh land properties farmed by the Cortelyou family, and later served as the clubhouse for the Infant Brooklyn Dodgers before their move to fabled Ebbets field.
In August of 1776, with the American Army surrounded, The British poised to destroy American freedom in the womb, and all hope lost, Mordechai Grist lead some 400 Marylanders in a desperate movement to cover the retreating American troops on the blood soaked lands around the Stone House. The house, faithfully restored to it's original grandeur in Byrne Park and 3rd Street and 4th Ave, is today a run by the First Battle revival Alliance as an educational center and Cultural resource by all Brooklynites, home and everywhere.
Celebrated by such notables as McNeil Lehrer regular and noted historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Borough President Howard Golden, and others, the value of the Stone House is only beginning to be realized, along with Brooklyn's other contributions to American History.
The Old Stone House's Winter Hours are 12noon - 3PM Saturdays.