The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House is the oldest Dutch-American farmhouse in New York City. Its notable architectural features include heavy fieldstone walls, a wooden-shingle gambrel roof and large brick chimneys. The interior is mainly exposed post-and-beam construction with wooden floors. There are double Dutch doors and numerous small, shuttered windows. In the cellar stands an old fireplace that was once used for the kitchen. On display inside the house are objects found during excavations conducted in the 1970s and 1980s as well as architectural and historical exhibits. The house was built by Paulus Vander Ende, a Dutch farmer, about 1709. The smaller wooden wing was erected much later. In the early 1800s, the house was purchased by the Onderdonk family. After the last Onderdonk moved out, successive owners used the house as a livery stable, speakeasy, office and, most recently, as a factory for parts for the Apollo space program. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society was formed to save the house, which was nearly destroyed by fire in 1975. It opened to the public in 1982.
The historical society offers guided tour of the house and grounds by costumed docents, a slide presentation of early New York and local history and a simple take home colonial craft project. The program is available by reservation and takes place Thursday and Friday from 10 am to noon. The cost is $150 per group. For availability and reservation forms, visit the GRHS website: www.onderdonkhouse.org