Luykas Van Allen House
The Dutch settled the Hudson Valley
in two ways. First they established towns and forts
at New Amsterdam, (New York City), Kingston and up at
the confluence of the Hudson & Mohawk Rivers, (Albany).
Between these outposts of "civilization" and
safety stretched vast acres of forests, hills and land.
After the forts were established, the settlement began.
Great Patroonships were granted on which smaller parcels
were sold. These were settled by men and women out in
the wilderness carving an existence to build their fortunes.
Today, throughout the Valley you can
find examples of early Dutch brick and stone dwellings, isolated
in the countryside, most transformed over the centuries
beyond recognition. But you will find only a tiny scattering
of brick homes in the Dutch style as most have been
torn down over the years. Building of brick was a much
more intensive way to build as the brick must first
be made, whereas stone was lying about the ground everywhere.
So finding a true Dutch brick dwelling, still intact
and recognizable, is a real treat.
The Luykas Van Alen House is just
such a dwelling, a nearly unique example of a late Dutch
brick farmhouse built in the isolated wilderness. On
top of that, it is a true jewel shining in the summer
sun, lovingly saved and restored to its original 1734
appearance, complete with interiors. Unusual for any
period home conserved and restored by a small local
historical society, the Van Alen House has not been
filled with bric-a-brac and furniture donated by caring
members covering centuries of time. It has been restored
and furnished as closely as possible to the real time
of it's period, with accurate furnishings and period
colors and interior appointments. The unusual Dutch
stoops have been restored, the jambless fireplace reconstructed
and an accurately spare collection of furniture placed
in everyday modes.
The Columbia County Historical Societies
pride of ownership and stewardship is obvious even from
the road as you approach. The house is situated in a
glen beyond a pond, a nearly idealistic setting for
our 21st Century eyes. You approach the house by walking
around the pond and are greeted by friendly and well
informed local guides that invite you to come into the
house and enjoy your visit. They interpret for you the
house, the interiors and the times bringing their love
for the site and its history to the task.
Of the many small historic homes to
be found in the Hudson Valley, the Luykas Van Alen House
is HV/Net's pick as the best. Both for the setting and
the home itself, you cannot find a better example of
loving recreation, care and stewardship. You will enjoy
your visit and be happy you went out of your way to
find this place.
The house is open for guided tours
from Memorial Day to Labor Day on Thursdays to Saturdays
from 11am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 1pm to 5pm. Bring
a picnic and settle down on the lawns under the trees.