Walter Brewster House – 1850
This fine example of Greek Revival architecture was constructed about 1850 by Walter Brewster, who at the time lived on "Riverside" (now Marvin Avenue) as it flanked the east branch of the Croton River. It cannot be determined that he ever actually lived in the Walter Brewster House or for how long if he did. Mr. Brewster had briefly studied architecture at Yale University, but as was common practice at the time, the design for his house came primarily from a current builders’ guide.
In 1848, together with his brother James, Walter Brewster purchased the 134-acre farmland that became the Village of Brewster, building both the passenger and freight railroad stations – the Harlem Line Railroad locomotives stopped at "Brewster’s Station" – as well as upwards of fifty homes and businesses. Few hints remain today of these original structures, most having succumbed to the many fires of the 19th century and other subsequent changes as the economy shifted drastically in the 20th century with the waning of local industries and the building of the Croton Water System.
In the late 1800’s the building had become the home of John Gail Borden and his family. Mr. Borden was an active member of the civic community and donated a much-needed pumper to the fire station. He managed the nearby Borden Milk Factory (at the junction of present Routes 6 and 22) which was considered to be one of the finest of its era, being a model of cleanliness, efficiency and science and a great source for local employment. This image is an original advertisement for a well known Borden product, Eagle Brand Condensed Milk.
Early in the 20th century the building was converted to apartments and later became the home of the Knights of Columbus, also serving as a temporary schoolhouse while the Henry H. Wells Jr. Senior High School, which opened September, 1959, was being built. Time, weather, vandalism and rampant remodeling took their toll on the stately building, and it stood vacant for several years until rescued by the Trustees of the Landmarks Preservation Society of Southeast. All of the original marble fireplaces and first floor window moldings had been removed. The central parlor staircase had been shifted to the front wall of the building, destroying the original classic floor plan.
Click here for more views of the Walter Brewster House Interior.
Restoration seemed overwhelming, but over the past three decades, through very generous financial donations and the assistance of historic preservation specialists, the Society has been able to rebuild much of the structure.
The interior furnishings including those found in the Stephens Memorial Reading Room and the Eleanor Fitchen Memorial Room are not original to the property but are accurate for the period and have been the generous donations of many local citizens. The Walter Brewster House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it is the sincere hope of the current Board of Trustees that with much needed community support we will be able to continue the fine work of our predecessors.
Guided tours of the Walter Brewster House (groups or individuals) are available by appointment. Contact Carol Bailey 845-279-6840 or Walter Brewster House 845-279-7429.
Go here for more information about rental of Landmark properties for special events.