Photo of the Week: The Van Cortlandt House, The Bronx, NY

This week’s photo is of the Van Cortlandt House, the oldest building in the Bronx, New York City. The house was built in the Georgian style by Frederick Van Cortlandt (1699–1749) in 1748 for his family. Van Cortlandt died before its completion and the property was inherited by his son, James Van Cortlandt (1727–1787). It was built in 1748 of dressed fieldstone and is representative of the high Georgian style. The Van Cortlandts, a mercantile family prominent in New York affairs, established a grain plantation and grist mill on the property. The house was used during the Revolutionary War by Rochambeau, Lafayette, and Washington. In 1889, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1967 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The house has been operated as a historic house museum since 1897, the first in the city and fourth in the country.

The house and grounds are said to be haunted by the spirits of Mohican Indians, as well as Dutch settler Adrian Van der Donck (who staked his claim to the area in 1646, and who likely died in the area in one of a series of Indian raids in September 1655), merchant and mayor Jacobus Van Cortlandt (who purchased the land there in 1694 and for whom the house and park are named), and General George Washington (who is known to have stayed in the House at least twice during the Revolutionary War).

The Van Cortlandt House, Bronx, NYC, said to be haunted

All photos in our Photo of the Week series are taken by New York Paranormal Society team member Laura Pennace, who is a New York City wedding photographer specializing in city hall and courthouse weddings, as well as engagement and proposal shoots. You can see more of Laura’s work at Pennace Photography (


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