Voorlezer's House

New York, United States

The Voorlezer's House is a historic clapboard frame house in Historic Richmond Town in Staten Island, New York. It is widely believed to be the oldest known schoolhouse in America, although the sole inhabitant to hold the title of voorlezer, Hendrick Kroesen, only lived on the property from 1696 until 1701. The present structure became a private residence for more than a century and is now owned and operated by the Staten Island Historical Society. Despite being traditionally dated to before 1696 and sitting on land patented in 1680, it is more likely to have been constructed in the mid-eighteenth century, probably in the 1760s by Jacob Rezeau, whose family came into possession of the property in 1705.

Though well-maintained for many years, by 1936 the building had fallen into disrepair and was threatened with demolition. It was acquired by the museum in 1939 and then restored to how it was believed to have appeared around the turn of the eighteenth century.

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Founded: 1760s
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in United States

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