A white clapboard house with early 19th century roots for sale in Putnam County predates the railroad that transformed the village of Brewster, N.Y., in which it sits. Now the town is on the cusp of another metamorphosis, as locals contemplate a controversial 1960s-style urban renewal plan.
As is the case for many small towns north of the city, the economy of the area was largely agricultural in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The village was carved out of a bigger town, Southeast, N.Y., and derives its name from developers James and Walter Brewster. The Brewsters bought up farmland and constructed a train station for the Harlem Line Railroad, which arrived in the area in the late 1840s.
That railroad line (now the Metro North Harlem Line), and the stop at Brewster, was a major boost to the economy of the area. For the farmers it meant their goods could get to market in New York faster and more easily, and for developers it meant new residents arriving.
Farming in the area took a bit of a hit in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when New York City began buying up fertile farmland to create the Croton Reservoir System. Then, as in many communities, the departure of industry took a further toll on the local economy in the 20th century.
More recently, in what seems to be a contentious local process, Brewster has been attempting to revitalize its struggling downtown core with a controversial 1960s-style urban renewal planning project. A Blight Determination Study was produced in 2011 and an Urban Renewal Plan was finalized in 2016.
According to a January 2018 press release, the first phase will begin later this year with the acquisition and demolition of blighted properties and new construction, including a parking garage for 550 cars and mixed-use buildings around a central plaza.
Meanwhile, the little house at 333 Turk Hill Road is located outside of the urban renewal district, just a couple of miles from downtown and a little over two miles from the Brewster train station. It has roots in the years of the early republic: It dates to 1810, according to information on file with the New York State Historic Preservation Office.
The early 19th century vernacular farmhouse has had some early 20th century alterations, adding a bit of Colonial Revival detail. The house is listed for sale for $499,999 by Doreen Reid of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties. The listing notes a lis pendens has been filed against the property.
The original core of the house was added onto over the years, expanding the original simple rectangle to include modern amenities like a garage.
On the first floor, the main core of the house has cozy rooms with beamed ceilings, wood floors and fireplaces.
The dining room has panelling on the walls and ceiling and enough 20th century built-in cabinetry to hold a plethora of pottery and china.
A solarium was added onto the house, providing a light-filled gathering spot and even more display space.
The kitchen is in another addition off the rear of the original house and got a redo later in the 20th century. The strap hinges and iron pulls on the wood cabinets reflect the countrified feel of the little house.
A petite wood-burning stove in the kitchen adds to the atmosphere; fortunately there’s central heat so keeping warm doesn’t require chopping wood.
There are five bedrooms in the house, one downstairs and four upstairs, according to the listing.
One of the upstairs bedrooms can only be accessed by going through the master suite, however, the floor plan shows. But altogether it does make for a massive master suite, which includes two fireplaces, a sitting area, sun room and en suite bath.
The house contains 3.5 baths; those pictured have claw-foot tubs and a wealth of wallpaper borders. Unusually, the half bath also serves as an office, according to the floor plan.
The roughly 3,700-square-foot house sits on just over 1.5 acres of land with stone walls enclosing a garden that includes a pergola.
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