The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, located in Ridgewood on the border of Queens and Brooklyn, is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City. Peter Stuyvesant granted the land it sits on in the mid-seventeenth century, and by 1660, Hendrick Barents Smidt occupied a small house on the site. In 1709, Paulus Vander Ende of Flatbush purchased the farm and began construction of the current house. The building was a prominent marker in the 1769 settlement of the boundary dispute between Bushwick in Kings County and Newtown in Queens County.
During the 1820's, Adrian Onderdonk erected a small frame addition to the stone house immediately above the remnants of the foundation of the 1660 building. Its architectural features are typical of Dutch buildings in this period: a gambrel roof, Dutch doors, central hallway and double hung windows with shutters.
The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society was established in 1975 by a group of local residents to prevent the demolition of the Vander Ende Onderdonk House. From 1975 until 1981, the GRHS raised funds to reconstruct the house which had been seriously damaged by fire, and in 1976, published a history of the greater Ridgewood area, entitled Our Community, Its History and People. With the help of Federal, State and local funds, the Onderdonk House was opened to the public in 1982.
In 1977, the House and property were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1978, granted the same status on the New York State Register. The House was given New York City landmark status in June of 1995.
The House serves as a museum for a permanent exhibit on the archaeology of the Onderdonk site, as well as changing exhibits relating to history, the arts and culture. The Society also maintains a history and genealogical research library, and offers many cultural events annually, including: guided house tours, history lectures and programs, genealogy workshops, craft classes and special events, such as St. Nicholas Day and other Dutch celebrations. The history and location of the house provide a rich educational and cultural experience for visitors. Click here for the NYC Landmarks and Preservation Historic Designation.
Our programs are supported in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Members Antonio Reynoso, Robert Holden, Jimmy Van Bramer, the Queens Delegation and the membership and friends of the Society.