Saturday, January 30, 2010

City Reneges on Deal for Historic Wyckoff-Bennett 1766 Homestead


WITH a spinning wheel in the attic, flintlock rifles on the walls, foot warmers at the hearth and a horse-drawn sleigh in the barn, Annette and Stuart Mont are well-equipped for 18th-century colonial farm life, according to the New York Times.

Except they are living in Brooklyn in 2010.

Home is an antiques-crammed pre-Revolutionary white Dutch farmhouse and barn that rise like ghostly apparitions amid apartment clusters and buzzing traffic on East 22nd Street and Avenue P in the Madison section. The Monts, who bought the place fully equipped for $160,000 in 1983, are only the third family to occupy what is known as the Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead since it was built around 1766.

“It’s a living museum,” said Mrs. Mont, 69, a retired psychotherapist and teacher.

But a plan for the city to acquire the 4,000-square-foot home, which was designated as a landmark by the city in 1968 and put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, has broken down in acrimony.

The Monts say that starting a decade ago, city officials offered to buy the house and its contents for $2 million while letting them stay on rent-free as caretakers, but that the officials reneged on the deal last year. Franklin Vagnone, executive director of the Historic House Trust, which helps the parks department preserve historic houses located in city parks, called the place “a wonderful artifact” but said the city “was unfortunately not able to negotiate terms with the current owners.”

Read More:

New York Times - January 29, 2010 - By Ralph Blumenthal 

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