Monsey Memories: The Jacob Blauvelt House
By: Yitzy Fried
Nestled between the heimish enclaves of Rockland County such as Spring Valley, Haverstraw, and Pomona, sits the village of New City, where a presence of orthodox families has been growing. On four acres of land near Zukor Road sits the Jacob Blauvelt House, previously owned by a farmer by that name. The home remains there as a testament to the immigrant whose family established roots in Rockland County in the 1640’s.
The story began when Gerritt Hendrickson arrived in New Amsterdam (present-day New York City) from Holland in 1683. He had twelve children there, of which seven survived. Some of them settled in the village of Tappan. But some of them moved to Rockland, and took on the name Blauvelt—a name derived from the blue flowers that grew around their grain fields (Blau-Velt translates from blue fields in Dutch).
His grandson, Jacob Abramse Blauvelt, lived in Tappan, but then purchased 300 acres in New City, which is where Blauvelt House stands today. His son Jacob Ja. Blauvelt began to farm the land, and his son, Jacob J. Blauvelt inherited the house. He donated two acres of land for a school, which was in operation all the way from the early 1800’s until 1983.
According to the Hudson River Valley website: “The Greek Revival doorway of the brick and sandstone Jacob Blauvelt House is the only hint that it was built in 1832; its gambrel roof, overhanging eaves, and compact size reflect the style of the rapidly disappearing 18th century Dutch houses in the region. The dwelling’s main section, kitchen outbuilding, and later connecting common room were constructed by farmer Jacob Blauvelt.
“Blauvelt’s descendants lived in the house until 1970, when it was acquired by the Historical Society of Rockland County. First floor rooms have been restored to reflect Jacob Blauvelt’s occupancy and feature period wallpapers and floor coverings, as well as Greek Revival woodwork and early 19th century furnishings made in the lower Hudson Valley. The rebuilt kitchen is used for demonstrations of open-hearth cooking while the 19th century barn complex contains farm tools, sleighs, and a complete blacksmith shop.”
This Yom Tov, as Rockland County residents will be making their way to distant locations for Chol Hamo’ed outings, they may consider a historical treasure right in their own backyard by the name of Jacob Blauvelt House.