The Dutch Colonial Home... A mainstay of the architectural lanscape of Staten Island's more established communities.

Dutch Colonail Home on College Ave. WesterleighAs you may know, Henry Hudson explored the eastern shore of the United States in 1609. This exploration led to a settlement being established in 1613, which in turn led to the creation of New Netherland, which included parts of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The primary motive for settling in this area was to trade with the Indians, who inhabited the land. Eventually, more Dutch emigrants settled in the area, along with Huguenots, who were fleeing Europe, and began to build homes for themselves out of stone and wood. The signature style that was used in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania later became known as Dutch Colonial-style architecture.

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of a Dutch Colonial home is the steeply-pitched gambrel roof. The sides of the roof have two slopes, with the lower slope being steeper and creating an overhang. If the house were built of brick, the brickwork would be laid in the cross-bond pattern. If the gables were straight-sided, the home would have parapets above them, as well as double-hung windows in the triangle or at the gambrel end. The gable-end would have a chimney. Doors were often divided horizontally, to keep out wild animals, but to keep in fresh air and light. These houses were popularly built around 1625-1840.

By the 1900s, a revival of the architectural style occurred in the United States. It became quite popular during the 1920s, but by the 1930s, the popularity began to diminish. Many of the features of Dutch Colonial Revival-style homes strayed from the original Dutch Colonial style. Many of the modern homes now had columns, transoms, and sidelights beside the now-vertical doors.

There are many Dutch Colonial Revival-style homes in Staten Island. The rarer sights, however, would be the Dutch Colonial-style homes found here. By about 1665 Pierre Billiou, the famous Staten Island Huguenot, built a house at what is now 1476 Richmond Road. Through the years, the home was inherited and sold to a handful of occupants. However, it still retained its Dutch Colonial features. This home is known as the Billiou-Stillwell-Perine House. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 1, 1976 and is currently owned by Historic Richmondtown.

During the late 1600s, a one-room home was constructed by a Paulus Regrenier, another French Huguenot, at what is now 509 Seguine Avenue. During the early part of the next century, Abraham Manee, who had purchased the structure, made additions to it, creating a Dutch Colonial-style house for himself. By the 1780s, the Seguine family had acquired the home. They, too, made additions to the house, but, like the Billiou-Stillwell-Perine House, it retained its Dutch Colonial style. The home is now known as the Abraham Manee House, or the Manee-Seguine Homestead. On September 11, 1984, it was designated as a New York City Landmark.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on


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