East Flatbush

Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House in East Flatbush is New York state’s oldest building

March 29, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
When warm weather arrives in earnest, East Flatbush's Wyckoff House Museum will be a fun place to visit. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Eye on Real Estate

Put this East Flatbush home on your list of must-visit sites this spring: Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House, the oldest building in New York state.

Luckily for preservation-minded Brooklynites, there’s public access to the oh-so-old farmhouse, which was partly constructed during Dutch Colonial days.

And luckily, Wyckoff House Museum, as it’s called, is situated in a city park. The gates of Fidler-Wyckoff House Park are open on most weekdays. So it’s possible to get an up-close look at the exterior of the venerable farmhouse at 5816 Clarendon Road even when the interior is closed.

See wyckoffmuseum.org for dates and times of public tours inside Wyckoff House Museum and family-friendly events such as an Easter Egg hunt scheduled for April 15.

The other day, we visited baseball great Jackie Robinson’s house at 5224 Tilden Ave. in East Flatbush. See related story. While we were in the neighborhood, of course we walked several blocks further to see Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House as well.

The farmhouse is one of our favorite places in Brooklyn, because of the miracle of its continued existence after three and a half centuries.

Another reason it’s dear to our heart is that it was the very first building the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) designated as an individual landmark after the agency was created in 1965.

The LPC’s designation report written that year says the one-story wooden farmhouse that constitutes the western end of the property was built before 1641, and “is an example of the Flemish Medieval Survival and the Dutch Colonial styles of architecture.”

Interestingly, the report says that at a public hearing prior to the designation, a Department of Highways rep asked that Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House be moved so Ditmas Avenue could be extended through its site.

The newly created Landmarks Preservation Commission defended the historic farmhouse from this threat and left it standing right where it had been for centuries.

“Wyckoff House’s archeological value would be greatly reduced if it were removed from its original foundations which are essential for confirming its architectural significance,” the report says.