Close to Home: Old Stone House at Washington Park in Brooklyn
A historic site in Park Slope is dedicated to preserving local and national history as well as teaching visitors how it impacted the neighborhood.
Tucked away in Park Slope's Washington Park is a house that tells the story of Brooklyn's history. The Old Stone House commemorates the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War.
"The house became a public history site because it was the culminating site of the Battle of Brooklyn, which was the first official battle fought by the United States Army," says Kimberly Maier, executive director of the park.
A reconstruction of the Vechte-Cortelyou House built in 1699, the historic site features an exhibit with themed areas that takes visitors on a journey through the Lenape village, Dutch colonization and the Revolutionary War era.
"Brooklyn was largely a Dutch community at the time of the Revolution," says Maier. "It had a very high level of enslavement, and it evolved very rapidly after the Revolutionary War through industry into the Brownstone Brooklyn that we see today."
Over the years, the house even became the original clubhouse of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"The site where the Old Stone House was originally located became part of Washington Park, which is one of the first professional baseball fields. When the ballpark first opened in May of 1883, that was the home of the Brooklyn baseball club and that's the team that eventually became the Dodgers."
On top of being a museum, the house has spaces where free programming is offered to the community. Staff are hoping visitors can learn lessons from this piece of history that can move the city and community forward.