THE OLD HOUSES OF KINDERHOOK, COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Capt. Franklin Ellis46
The old houses of Kinderhook are appropriately noted in this connection. although not hotels, they have become widely known for their generous hospitality. One of the best known is popularly termed the "Centennial Mansion." It was erected in 1774, by David Van Schaack, and was for those days a magnificent dwelling, substantially constructed, and elegantly finished. In 1785, Peter Van Schaack made this house his home, and entertained many distinguished persons. In October 1777, General Burgoyne passed through Kinderhook, as a prisoner of war, and was entertained at the mansion. Later, Aaron Burr was a guest; and in Martin Van Buren's time Henry Clay, Washington Irving, Thomas H. Benton, Silas Wright, Wm. H. Marcy, and many others of equal prominence, were visitors at the mansion. In 1814, Dr. John P. Beekman purchased it of the estate of John Rogers, and renovated the house, adding the two wings. It is yet in a good state of preservation, and is now used as a summer residence by Aaron J. Vanderpoel, of New York city. "Until a few years ago, there was a house in the village to which Benedict Arnold was carried in 1777, on his way from Saratoga to Connecticut. One of the side posts of the doorway was cut down to make room for the litter on which the then wounded patriot was borne." Near Lindenwald, which was the old Van Ness mansion, is yet standing the old Van Alen house, now nearly two hundred years old. Here was born the gifted Peter L. Van Alen, who was killed in a duel by Wm. H. Crawford, afterwards secretary of the treasury under President Monroe The house now occupied by General Chrysler is said to have been built in 1717; and a tenant-house in the village was built in 1766. In the old town, in what is now Stuyvesant, was a house long owned by the Wendover family, which contained a chamber all finished with cherry wood. On one occasion, General Washington, in passing from New York to Albany, lodged at this house, and occupied the "cherry chamber," which was long preserved on account of this association. The house itself was a low but comfortable structure, and had a spacious mantel, constructed of "Scriptural tiles," after the manner of the old Holland houses. This and any other historic houses of old Kinderhook have been demolished, and even the recollection of them is vague and contradictory.
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