If you’ve always wanted to lay claim to owning the oldest house in town, here’s a little Dutch house in Scarsdale that historians believe might be just that.
Known as the Underhill House, the farmhouse at 1020 Post Road has its roots in the late 17th century and is on the market for a 21st century old house lover to snap up and add another layer of history.
While Scarsdale might be better known for the grandly scaled early 20th century homes of the wealthy suburban building boom, its history began in 1701 with Caleb Heathcote’s establishment of the manor of Scarsdale. It officially became a town in 1788, after the death of Heathcote and the breaking up of the manor. Only a handful of Scarsdale’s early homes survive, including the Underhill House.
In a Cultural Resource Survey Report of Scarsdale by Li Saltzman Architects and historian Andrew S. Dolkart, the Underhill House is identified as a potential individual landmark and “probably the earliest extant structure in Scarsdale.” The brief history provided indicates that the center section of the house was built circa 1700 with additions soon after in 1760 and 1790.
The evolution of houses like this can be tricky to track and the history is often heavy with folklore — fascinating stories, but nonetheless tales that can be difficult to pin down. Luckily one of the previous owners of the Underhill house, Barbara Shay MacDonald, is the historian for the Scarsdale Historical Society. MacDonald has written about the earliest history of the property and, based on research, believes it dates to as early as 1687 and would have originally been a one-room house with two stories. While now called the Underhill House after an 18th century owner, it was an unknown Dutchman who was first responsible for its construction, according to MacDonald.
In the 18th century it was part of the land purchase of Thomas Hadden, who also owned Wayside Cottage, a circa 1717 house across the street. Hadden left behind a wife and children in Ireland and fathered multiple children with Rose, an enslaved woman in his household. Hadden acknowledged the children in his will and MacDonald believes that Rose and her children would have lived at 1020 Post Road.
The family associated with the house by name, that of Benjamini Underhill, purchased it just before or after the Revolutionary War. It was Underhill who was responsible for its 18th century expansion. The family would own the property until the mid 19th century.
There are other 18th and early 19th century houses in Scarsdale and you can learn more about those houses and the Underhill house from a video narrated by MacDonald for the Scarsdale Historical Society. You can also view historic images of the area’s homes via the Scarsdale Public Library.
The Underhill house was lucky enough to have sympathetic owners over the centuries who wanted to preserve the historic character while making it livable to modern tastes. You will find running water, central heat, bathrooms and a garage.
Inside, the house showcases its history through the eras, with features ranging from 18th century fireplaces to 20th century track lighting.
The beamed ceilings, two fireplaces and simple moldings date from the 18th century.
The first floor includes a formal dining room with period appropriate small-scale character.
The kitchen has a cottage feel with white rustic cabinets and iron hardware.
The house has three bedrooms, which look to be tucked into the second floor of the house.
There are also three bathrooms. The current owners told the Rockland/Westchester Journal News that they bought the house in 2004 because they loved its history, but also wanted some more modern amenities.
They updated the home to include a master bath as well as more closet space and air conditioning.
The house is no longer part of a working farm, but it does sit on .64 acres with patios and a spring-fed pond.
The house is listed for $1.395 million by Dawn Knief of Compass.
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