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Schenck-Crooke House

By Dan Brenner

Posted on June 19, 2019

[Schenck-Crooke House], circa 1900, photogravure, v1981.283.58; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Originally located at 21-33 East 63rd Street in the Flatlands neighborhood of Brooklyn, The Schenck-Crooke House was built between 1675-1677 and is considered to be one of the oldest Dutch colonial houses in New York.

The Schenck family arrived from Holland in 1650 and settled in the area then known as Amersfoot. Twenty-five years later on December 29, 1675, Jan Martense Schenck purchased his own farmland and built the house on the property. Designed in the traditional Dutch colonial style, the house was one and a half stories in height and consisted of two rooms with a central chimney. Over the course of the next 275 years several modifications were made to the structure including in the early nineteenth century the four-columned porch seen in this image.

In 1784, the property was sold to Joris Martense who later conveyed the land to his daughter Susan Caton. In 1818, Caton’s daughter, Margaret Crooke, inherited the land. Because of limitations to women’s property rights in the 19th century, Robert Crooke, Margaret’s father-in-law through her husband General Philip S. Crooke, became trustee of the land. The house and farmland would remain in the family until 1909 when it was sold to the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific Company.

In 1952, the Brooklyn Museum purchased the house, took it apart, and placed it in storage for the next decade with plans for a future installation. The house was rebuilt inside of the museum and stripped of its alterations from over the years, thus converting the structure back to its original design. The restored Schenck-Crooke House officially opened to the public in 1964. For further information regarding the installation, please follow this link.

This image comes from the Burton Family papers and photographs (ARC.217). For more information please see our finding aid here and for more photographs from this collection, please visit our image gallery here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections; visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. [email protected].

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