The mansion, the oldest surviving private residence in the Bronx, is a fine example of vernacular Georgian architecture. Built in 1748 by Frederick Van Cortlandt, it was once at the heart of a lucrative wheat plantation that spread across much of the Bronx.
During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington bivouacked on its grounds and lit campfires on a nearby hill to fool the British into believing rebels awaited them. Meanwhile, he and his troops moved to Yorktown for the war's final battle.
Located on the edge of what is today Van Cortlandt Park, the mansion is constructed of rough-hewn stone and brick. Grotesque faces carved in stone, common in Europe at the time but rare in Colonial America, serve as keystones above the windows. Inside the three-story house, spacious formal rooms and bedchambers are furnished with 18th-century antiques. The kitchen has a vast fireplace, cauldrons and shovel oven. Among the mansion's many treasures are America's oldest dollhouse and child's sled. Group tours, concerts, lectures and special programs are occasionally offered.
Special events and tours of the Van Cortlandt House are available year-round. Guided and self-guided tours can be scheduled and are arranged for age-specific children's groups and adults.
2 weeks in advance
Young people can return to Colonial times, the Revolutionary War and Federal America when they visit the Van Cortlandt House Museum. Students and adults can enjoy group tours of the museum and Delft tile workshops supplemented by the museum's educational materials. Programs offered for special education groups; some programs are offered in Spanish.
Suggested donation: $1 children , free for adults; Delft tile workshop: $2 children