Dutch Barn Preservation Society

Dedicated to the Study and Preservation
of New World Dutch Barns

NEWSLETTER, FALL 1999, Vol. 12, Issue 2

THE PETER WINNE HOUSE AT BETHLEHEM, NEW YORK: A SITE REPORT

<-Exterior of the older portion of the Winne house showing brick in the lower part of the gable. The side walls were raised in the middle to late 19th century lowering the angle of the roof. Photo by Roderic Blackburn.

Dutch house of ca. 1734 once at 922 -> Broadway, Albany. It shows a similar overhanging gable and may have (not seen because of the shadow) a similar molding. Photo from the collection of Roderic Blackburn.

 

 

By Roderic H. Blackburn

The last quarter of this century has seen a transformation of old houses in the Hudson Valley. Where once many were used merely as farm houses, mostly on family farms, and some were even abandoned, now most have been taken over as historical artifacts and renovated or restored to the new owners' sense of period or style. Now it is a rarity to find an "untouched" (by improvement) early house, so rare it calls for attention in the same way that Dutch barns do. The following account is of the Peter Winne house in the Town of Bethlehem, just south of Albany. It retains features of a distinct type of Dutch house, worthy of preservation and rehabilitation if a right new owner can be found. A brief and accurate report of the house (with measured plan) was published by Roger Scheff in the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the DBPS Journal/Newsletter of July and August, 1999.

From notes supplied by Allison Bennett, we learn the house is believed to have been built by Pieter D. Winne (born 1699, married Rachel Van Alen in 1720). He was the grandson of Pieter Winne who was known as "Pieter de Vlamingh," born in Flanders. "Vlamingh" meant "Fleming," that is, someone from Flanders. The word evolved into "Vlaumins" and now "Vloman," giving its name to the creek near the house, the Vloman Kill. The Winne name was possibly of English origin, as the family fled religious troubles in England.

On the Bleecker map of 1767 the house is #130. Both in terms of the likely date Winne may have built the house (about the time of his marriage) and in terms of the structure of the house, it is likely it was built about 1720, with an addition of about the 1750s.

The Main House

Detail of the gable overhang and molding. The side wall was originally clapboards as it is now, though they have been replaced. Photo by Roderic Blackburn.

The earliest part of the house is a two room structure with a brick gable up to the second floor, a gable entrance with original door frame, and the remaining three sides clapboard (originally so, though new boards extant). In the latter 19th century this story-and-a-half Dutch house was raised to full two stories, reusing the original rafters, shortened and set at a lower angle. The structure is of two nearly equal sized rooms with, originally, back to back Dutch open fireplaces with a hood chimney, the same as once was in the Bronk House of 1738 at Coxsackie. The framing is of conventional Dutch H frame bents with corbels (curved braces). The Dutch fireplaces were changed circa 1770-80 when the east fireplace was rebuilt as a Georgian English style fireplace with mantle, still intact. The other early fireplace was removed and never replaced except by a later iron stove. All the windows in this two room house have been altered in later years. They are either changed in size or entirely new. The stairway to the upstairs is not original but dates from when the upper story was rebuilt after the Civil War. The second floor is now a series of small rooms.

View of the west wall showing the original house on the left and the stone and brick addition, circa 1750 on the right. Photo by Chris Albright.

The features of this house resemble most closely Dutch houses built ca. 1730 +/- 15 years in the upper Hudson Valley. Most interesting, this house has features which are associated with urban Dutch construction: gable end brick wall only (the remainder clapboard), gable end entrance, and a gable overhang. In fact a house once at 922 Broadway may serve as the closest example (see photo). It also had a second story gable overhang, a feature found on early urban Dutch houses in the Netherlands.

The gable brick wall is intact. The bricks are laid in Dutch cross bond. The bricks were originally coated with a paint about the same color as the brick (in other houses it was a rich red color), and in the striker lines of the mortar white was painted (as on other houses.) This gave a more uniform color and even detail to the facade, much favored by the compulsively neat Dutch. In the two main rooms of the older section are found corbels (curved braces) on each post. In one corner of both rooms a corbel was not originally present but added in this century for symmetry. In other Dutch houses one such corbel is also missing near the outer corner of each room, leaving room for a tester bed (rarely, a cupboard bed, although the Mabee house at Rotterdam had one) to be installed in this corner.

<-View of corbels. In recent years the corbels were painted white. Originally it is likely only the waif post was painted while all woodwork above was left unpainted. Photo by Chris Albright.

 

 

 

 

 

Detail of the front door showing the gable molding and then a transom molding over the transom light. A similar molding is found on the one door of the Luykas Van Alen House, 1737. The transom window has been shortened when a taller door was installed in the 19th century.

 

 

 

Iron wall anchor on the front (east) gable of the two room house. Wall anchors served to secure an 8 inch brick wall to the interior load-bearing framework. Photos by Chris Albright.

 

 



NEWSLETTER, FALL 1999, Vol. 12, Issue 2, part two

The Dutch Barn Preservation Society

c/o The Mabee Farm Historic Site
1080 Main St. (Rt. 5S)
Rotterdam Junction, NY 12150

Site Phone: (518) 887-5073

 

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