Saturday, July 4, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
Check out this old house.
Brooklyn’s Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead, which dates back to around 1766, has quietly hit the market for $3.2 million. Brownstoner first reported the listing.
Only three families have lived in the rare property over its 250-year history. There are about a dozen such houses in the borough.
The Dutch Colonial farmhouse, located at 1669 E. 22nd St. in the Homecrest section of Sheepshead Bay, has four bedrooms and four bathrooms over 4,000 square feet.
Period details added over the years include fireplaces with large mantels, wide-planked hardwood floors, wainscoting and built-in cabinets. The country kitchen has a vaulted ceiling, while an upstairs bathroom has a clawfoot tub.
A descendant of one of the city’s first Dutch settlers, Hendrick Wyckoff, built the house on 100 acres of farmland in the mid-1700s, and sold it to Cornelius Bennett in 1835. (Bennett’s ancestor landed in Brooklyn in 1636, which would have made him one of the first residents in the area that later became Brooklyn.) It had no running water or electricity until the 1930s. The property stayed in the Bennett family until 1983, when Stuart and Annette Mont bought it for $160,000.
With their purchase, the Monts told The New York Times, they inherited historic items, like a spinning wheel, flintlock rifles and a horse-drawn sleigh, as well as furniture, silverware, photographs and documents.
Per the Times, the house still has “dishes, silverware, quilts, toys, clothes, Bibles, daguerreotypes, even an edict of April 3, 1776, ordering householders ‘to preserve for the KING’s Use’ bushels of rye, wheat and barley to provision the redcoat army.” (There was, of course, also a ghost.) A 2012 video shows the proud Brooklyn-born couple giving a tour of their home and its precious artifacts.
The Monts, who were in their 70s, recently passed away, so their surviving relatives (son Ira and daughter Randi) have put it on the market. Delton Cheng of Century 21 Homefront Realty has the listing.
Also called the Wyckoff-Bennett house or the Wyckoff-Bennett-Mont house, it sits on half an acre at the intersection of East 22nd Street and Avenue P that also includes a barn, built around 1899. The four lots that make up the half-acre are surrounded by a white picket fence. In addition to the empty lawns surrounding it, the main house has several other urban rarities: a front porch, an attic and a basement.
It’s just a few blocks from James Madison High School, where past students include Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Chris Rock, Judge Judy — and Annette Mont.
It also boasts a rich and dramatic history. George Washington reportedly marched troops up nearby Kings Highway. Around that time, two Hessian soldiers, German troops who served auxiliaries to the British during the Revolutionary War, scratched their names and ranks into the glass. The glass has been removed, saved and put into picture frames.
The Wyckoff-Bennett homestead’s landmark status, conferred in 1968, only protects the exterior. It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Between about 2000 and 2010, the Monts and the Parks Department were in negotiations for the city agency to buy the house for about $2 million, preserve it and turn it into a museum, all while keeping the couple on as live-in caretakers rent-free.
But negotiations fell apart, The Post reported, after the city lowered its offer to about $1.3 million.
Experts agreed that the price wasn’t right. “It’s a living museum for the 21st century,” Brooklyn history aficionado Lee Rosenzweig said at the time. “You walk inside and you’re back in the 1700s.”
“The city blew it by not going ahead and purchasing it for the Historic House Trust,” Brooklyn borough historian Ron Schweiger told The Post. “The property itself and the artifacts are worth every penny of $2 million.”
“Let my kids worry about it,” Stuart Mont told the Times after the deal fell through. “I’ll die some day.”