Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Hendrick I Lott House, A 1700's Dutch Colonial Farmhouse in Brooklyn, NY

The Hendrick I Lott House, located at 1840 East 36th Street, Brooklyn, NY, is a New York City and New York State Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Purchased by the Lott family in 1719, the house and property were sold by the Lott family to the City of New York in 2002, marking the end of the longest continual ownership of a property by a single family within the City.

(Click on any photo to enlarge it for easier viewing.)

Presently, the house is surrounded by a chain-link fence, as you can see in the photo above, and is closed for restoration. The Friends of the Lott House organization is raising money to complete interior and landscape restoration. Click here to make a donation

Some historical information about the house from the preservation web site:
"The Lott House, as it is presently configured, was constructed in 1800 by Hendrick I. Lott in the then town of Flatlands in Kings County New York. The house incorporates the circa 1720 house of Hendrick's grandfather Colonel Johannes H. Lott. The Lott House was the center of a large and active farm in Flatlands. In fact the Lott farm continued to produce goods for market until circa 1925. At one time Flatlands was the second largest agricultural producer in the region, second only to Queens County.

In 1989 the last Lott to live in the house, Miss Ella Suydam, passed away. Soon after the City awarded the Lott House landmark status and protection. In 2002 Miss Suydam's estate sold the Lott House and property to the City of New York."

On this link is a photo slide show of the extensive restoration that has begun to return it to its original 1700's condition.  The Friends of the Lott House have some wonderful videos on their home page describing the home and its history.

A New York Parks Department sign describing the history of the Lott family and the house. It can be clicked on to enlarge.

Like most of the large farmers in southern Brooklyn, the Lotts relied on the labor of slaves, indentured servants, and hired hands to help grow the crops that they sold in the markets of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Lotts, however, freed their slaves by 1805, many years before the abolition of slavery in New York State in 1827. During archaeological excavations of the home, conducted by members of the Brooklyn College Archaeological Research Center, a secret room in the house was discovered which was believed to be part of the Underground Railroad in the 1840s. You can read about this discovery on the May/June 2001 issue of the Archaeology magazine website.

This is the American Revolutionary War "Battle Of Brooklyn" information placard at the house's site. It describes how in August of 1776, 20,000 British and Hessian soldiers came onshore from ships in Gravesend Bay to prepare to battle the Continental Army under General George Washington's command. They marched along the Kings Highway which was the northernmost border of the Lott property at the time and set their tents up in the fields surrounding the Lott house. A Lott family legend tells how a member of the family made a daring raid one evening on one of the enemy camps and made off with the cast iron fireback that belonged to the British General Charles Cornwallis. It remains in the family until this day. Click on the above photo to see the fireback and a photo of how the house farm and barns looked in the 18th century.

The photo above shows what those fields look like now. The last farmer, John Bennett Lott, died in 1923. and since he had no sons to take over the farm, most of the Lott house's 200 acres were sold to developers. Middle-class track houses were constructed on the former property as part of the ever-growing suburbia of New York City. This neighborhood became known as Marine Park. The houses seen in the photo above are on the west side of the Lott house, and similar houses surround it on all four sides.

Next blog post I'll show you one more Dutch farmhouse that still stands in Brooklyn -- one that was occupied by Hessian soldiers who left their mark behind 233 years ago!  It is the Wyckoff Bennett House.

To see the oldest Dutch House in Brooklyn --The Pieter Claesen Wyckoff  House, click here.

Read my blog posts about the Revolutionary War of the Battle of Brooklyn, click here.

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Tracy said...

The Lott House is lovely... such simple, clean lines of the architecture...and love that front porch! Very interesting then seeing the row homes... Great architectural studies and history today, Pat :o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

Judy said...

I quite like the old house...and see many of similar construction in our area today. How nice to have the house preserved by the city as it once was.

You do a great job of digging up the history, Pat.

Claudia said...

The history is truly amazing. Just when you think you know the City, it keeps its heritage and surprises you.

Beverly said...

Pat, I love your post. It is amazing to me that these places still exist in Brooklyn. And, it is so awesome that the home was owned and occupied by the same family for centuries. Fantastic!

Linda K. said...

There is something so beautiful and pristine about a well preserved home built so long ago. If only walls could speak! I so appreciate your posts! The history of life in these structures is amazing. Thanks so much for your history in your neck of the woods!..

Americal the Beautiful..

black eyed susans kitchen said...

How beautiful Brooklyn must have been in those days, and how beautiful Brooklyn still is today! My parents grew up in Brooklyn as did some of my grandparents. My fathers mother came over from Russia with 11 siblings and they all settled there. My husbands grandfather came over from Denmark and also settle there. It makes me so happy to see that history is being and has been restored. So many of us have roots in Brooklyn, it is a wonder that it is not taught in history classes all over the country. Great post Pat, as was the previous post.
♥, Susan

GMG said...

Hi Pat!
Lovely house, excellent shots, wonderful post!!

Blogtrotter is leaving Iceland, but before departing it shows you the incredible Blue Lagoon. Enjoy and have a fabulous week!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am enjoying the tours!! Thanks!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - Your posts are always so educational and reveal a part of New York most people would otherwise not know about. You should lead tours of the city- or at least Brooklyn.
Re:gondola no I didn't take the ride at the Boathouse and thanks for the Frick offer, but we actually get in for free in a deal struck with our library.

happyone said...

Great old house and how nice that it will be restored. 4 million dollars sure sounds like a lot of money though!!

Willow said...

Very interesting! What is the projected date that the Lott House will be restored and reopened?

Sea Witch said...

Pat, these postings are like having a personal guide as we take a walking tour around the city. I love the history behind all of these homes and this must keep you very busy, but half the fun is in the hunt. Sea Witch

Rue said...

Hi Pat :)

What beautiful homes on these two posts! It's wonderful to see people saving pieces of our history :)


aliceinparis said...

Such a lovely large house. I am thrilled to hear that they had a part in the Underground Railroad.I guess they needed to make amends.
Sad it is surrounded by houses now.

cherie said...

i have always admired all these strustures that have been preserved for us and for the next generations...

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

I'm loving this series...

Bill said...

Hi Pat,
I enjoyed this latest installment so very much. It's always a pleasure to stop by and see where you're taking your readers. Thank you for this very photogenic history lesson!


Shellbelle said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post and for all the research you did! This is just great, I love looking at old buildings and I felt as though I was right there with you! My family has been in this country since Jamestown and I've always wanted to go and then trace their migration to Georgia.

I just loved this post!

Unknown said...

That is a beautiful house Pat, love the porch!

Florance Simpson said...

What a wonderful blog post...found it a little late but glad I did:)
I am a decendant of this family and one of last in our particular line of decendants and my maiden name is Lott...my father was the last male and he had four daughters...my son says he wants to change his last name to Lott so he can carry it on. I own a book that has all of the Lott family history and a picture of this house is in it as is the information about the battle that took place there.
I hope to visit the house in the future if it is open to the public now...still researching so I'm sure I'll find out soon.
Thanks again.