Brooklyn Boro

Old Stone House receives $10.9M grant

December 27, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
The Old Stone House, a key site during the Battle of Brooklyn, is the jewel of present-day Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.
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A recent grant to the Old Stone House in Park Slope will mean that more people will be able to visit it, and its historic significance and cultural events will be even more well-known.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher and Brooklyn Councilmember (and Comptroller-Elect) Brad Lander last week announced a $10.9 million investment in the Old Stone House to increase accessibility and fund preservation efforts at the historic site in the heart of Washington Park. 

The funding was part of the larger, recently-passed Gowanus Neighborhood Plan, which also includes affordable housing in the area, opening up the Gowanus Canal waterfront and more.

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Enhancements to the Old Stone House will include a newly constructed elevator, a new staircase, and the addition of public restrooms within an extension on the north side of the building. The addition of an elevator means that people with disabilities will be able to enjoy events on the second floor, which have included folk-music concerts, performances by the Brooklyn Brandenbergers (who perform the Brandenberg Concertos), theater events and more.

Outdoor events connected with the Old Stone House are also held in the surrounding park, known as Washington Park. For example, games of 19th century-style baseball, featuring uniforms from that era and following original rules, have been held there.

The Old Stone House is an on-site replica of a farmhouse built in 1699 by the Dutch Vechte family. During the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776, it was used as a headquarters by British troops and was repeatedly stormed by American troops under the command of Colonial General Lord Stirling. During the 19th century, it was used for various purposes, including as a clubhouse for the Brooklyn Superbas, later known as the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The house collapsed sometime in the 1890s. In the 1930s, the city Parks Department dug up many of the original stones and reconstructed the house. It was used mainly as a comfort station and storeroom for many years, but starting in the 1970s it was renovated and dedicated as a memorial to the American troops, mainly Marylanders, who fought in the Battle of Brooklyn.

“The Old Stone House is more than a cultural and educational hub, it’s a symbol of Brooklyn, containing centuries of history,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As a proud Brooklynite, it’s important to preserve our history and shared heritage. This funding will help restore this iconic site, increase accessibility, and ensure visitors can enjoy it for generations to come.”

“The Old Stone House is a culturally significant site rich with history, and thanks to Mayor de Blasio, a brighter future,” said Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “Increasing accessibility through investment has been a hallmark of this administration and a necessary step to propel us forward. We hope this cultural institution will continue to enrich and serve the community.” 

“This funding will make the Old Stone House accessible to the entire community, enabling everyone to experience Old Stone House’s 2nd floor Great Room – a space for affordable events, the arts and history-based education programs,” said Old Stone House Executive Director Kimberly Maier.

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