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Dyckman House Museum

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

The Dyckman Farmhouse, built in the early 1780s, was once the center of a thriving farm, with fields and orchards of cherry, pear, and apple trees. The Dyckman family, for whom the house was named, lived in the house until the 1850s.

The first Dyckman to arrive in America, Jan, emigrated from Holland in the mid-1600s. Jan Dyckman, a shoemaker, and another Dutch settler, Jan Nagel, together purchased much of the land between present-day 155th Street and the northern end of the island. Members of the Dyckman and Nagel families lived on this land for three generations, until the Revolutionary War broke out.

During the British occupation of Manhattan in 1776-83, the Dyckmans, like many other patriots, fled the city and did not return until the British had been defeated. When the war ended and the Dyckmans found that their home and orchards had been destroyed, they built a new house on the Kingsbridge Road, now Broadway. They chose this location on a major thoroughfare in order to supplement their income by providing accommodations for travelers on their way to and from Manhattan. The family also made their fields available to livestock that was being transported to slaughterhouses and markets in Lower Manhattan.

Three more generations of Dyckmans lived in this farmhouse. By the 1850s, the quantity of livestock being brought to market made Broadway a less pleasant place to live. The Dyckman household moved about a half mile away to another part of their property. After it was sold by the Dyckmans in the 1870s, the house served as a hotel for a brief period of time.

By the early 20th century, the house had fallen into disrepair. Developers, interested in capitalizing on rising real estate prices due to the IRT subway line’s extension to northern Manhattan, wanted to purchase the house and surrounding lots in 1915. As numerous historic structures in Manhattan had already been torn down, many people thought it was important to preserve the Dyckman Farmhouse for future generations of New Yorkers. Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, daughters of the last Dyckman child to grow up in this house, bought the property and gave it to the City of New York in 1916. An adjacent parcel to the northwest was donated to the City by the Dyckman Institute in 1943, increasing the park to its present size.

The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum has been open to the public since 1916. It is presently operated by NYC Parks and the Historic House Trust. The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance and staff, with assistance from neighborhood volunteers, manage the house and gardens.

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