A friend and I visited Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a collection of 19th Century buildings from Long Island that has been assembled to form a representation of a village. The site was originally Powell’s Farm, and became county property in 1963. Today, the site has 209 acres and is home to 51 historic buildings and seven reconstructions.
Upon entering the grounds, we saw a group playing an old-style baseball game. Pitching was under-handed (overhanded pitching wasn’t allowed until 1884).
While most of the buildings were restored and open for touring, a few were closed and in various stages of restoration. One was the Bedell House, which dates from c. 1835. Hiram K. Bedell was a farmer in West Hempstead, from where the house had been relocated.
Another building under renovation was Dr. Searing’s Office. This tiny building dates from c. 1815. It has originally stood on the west side of Henry Street in Hempstead, though it was relocated in 1920 to Washington Street, and then in 1956 to Bellerose, Queens, and then finally in 1993 to Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
John M. Layton kept this store in East Norwich. It dates from c. 1866.
An interior view:
The back yard and outbuildings:
Behind the Noon Inn, a six-man band played period music on historic instruments:
Adjacent to Noon Inn were two barns used for storing wagons and carriages.
I did not get any good photos of the exterior of Noon Inn, but I was able to photograph the interior. John H. Noon was the innkeeper of this establishment, which dates from c. 1850. It was originally in East Meadow, NY.
Another photograph of the band, this time from the second floor of Noon Inn:
Storm clouds gather over the Kirby House. This home, originally from Hempstead, dates from c. 1845. It had been owned by Richard D. Kirby, a tailor.
This home, built in 1829 in Northville, had been owned by William Benjamin, a Congregational minister and farmer. He had been pastor to the Shinnecock and Poosepatuck Native American tribes. His brother Simeon was a prominent merchant and a founder of Elmira College, the first institution of higher learning for women. The Benjamin House was constructed in the late Federal country style; its furnishings reflect the lifestyle of this relatively affluent farmer and respected minister.
Not far from the minister’s home was the Manetto Hill Church, a Methodist congregation from Plainview, which dates from 1857.
A cemetery, most likely not anyone’s actual resting place, is not far from the church.
The Williams House and Carpentry Shop was brought from New Hyde Park, and dates from c. 1860. Henry R. Williams was a farmer and carpenter.
Walking toward Powell Farm:
The Powell Farmhouse, c. 1855, is on its original site. Richard S. Powell had been the farmer.
The farm included a barn, though this was not original, but rather than been brought from the Samuel S. Underhill Farm, Jericho.
This is the Cooper house. While “cooper” as a profession means a maker of barrels, this particular owner, Peter Cooper, was an inventor. The home, relocated from Hempstead, dates from c. 1815.
The Lawrence House, c. 1820, had been relocated from College Point, where Gilbert Lawrence had been a farmer. The home was under restoration and therefore not open.
The Hewlett House, c. 1840, came from Woodbury, where Lewis Hewlett had been a farmer.
There were a few buildings that I visited but failed to document, including a schoolhouse c. 1845 from Manhasset and the Ritch House and Hat Shop, c. 1830, from Middle Island. I don’t remember the Ritch House, but the Hat Shop was open and I enjoyed stopping in there and watching a craftsman fashion fine men’s hats.
I failed to visit a few other buildings. One was beside the baseball field, and we walked by it while following the band to their performance. That was the Schenck House, from Manhasset. A map we were given with our admission tickets shows the house dates to c. 1765, while the website shows it as c. 1730 and says it is one of the oldest surviving Dutch farmhouses remaining in the U.S. In any case, I’m sorry that I missed it.
I also missed the Conklin House, c. 1853, from Village of the Branch, and the Luyster Store, c. 1840, from East Norwich.