Van Sicklen House Historic District

STATUS Designated Historic District

27 Gravesend Neck Road

ARCHITECT: Unknown; altered by William E. Platt

DATE: Early 18th century or earlier; rear section, mid-18th century; altered 1905-06

STYLE: Dutch American

Brooklyn Dutch-American

The Van Sicklen House is among the oldest surviving Dutch-American houses in Brooklyn and the only known extant 18th century house largely of stone construction in the borough. Located in the northwest quadrant of the historic town center of Gravesend, the house is linked to the earliest colonial history of Brooklyn in that it occupies part of the house lot of Lady Deborah Moody who founded Gravesend in the 1640s. It appears to be one of the earliest surviving houses in Brooklyn and New York City.

In 1702, farmer and property owner, Ferdinandus Van Sicklen, Jr., acquired this land. Members of the Van Sicklen family were probably responsible for constructing the house, which was built in sections, beginning in the early 18th century, or perhaps earlier, and for expanding it in the mid-18th century. During the 18th century, the Van Sicklens who occupied this house were farmers and prominent members of the Gravesend community serving in a variety of municipal and institutional posts. In the mid-18th century when the rear additions were added, the roof was recentered with a gently sloping pitch and wide overhanging spring eaves creating a profile typical for mid-to-late-18th century Dutch American houses in Long Island, Staten Island and Central New Jersey. Other 18th century features which make the Van Sicklen House an excellent example of the Long Island-Central New Jersey Dutch American house type include its one-and-a-half-story form achieved through the use of Dutch anchor beam construction, its low proportions, rectangular plan, and the location of its door and window openings, on the western half of the façade and gabled end walls.

The house was occupied by the Van Sicklens and later by the family of Cornelia Van Sicklen Hicks and her husband, Thomas Hicks, until the early 1900s. In 1904, the house was acquired by realtor William E. Platt, who with his wife Isabelle, made extensive alterations, including the addition of dormer windows, incorporating decorative elements inspired by the Colonial Revival Style and the prevalent Arts and Crafts aesthetic. The Platts were responsible for popularizing the longstanding idea that this had been the ancient home of Lady Deborah.

The house remains on its original site and is located across the street from the designated Gravesend-Van Sicklen Cemetery. The structure is one of the few remaining buildings that represent the early history of Gravesend, a significant New York colonial community.

STATUS Designated Historic District

Take Action

Add the next LPC meeting to your calendar.

Let your local representative know you care.

Share your photos of this neighborhood

Help preserve New York’s architectural history with a contribution to HDC

$10 $25 $50
Other >
The Neighborhood


Aaron Dexter, Academic Classic, Adamesque, Addisleigh Park, Admiral's Row, African American, Al Smith, Alhambraic, American Aesthetic, American Art Deco, American ... VIEW ALL

Explore the Neighborhood >

Local Voices

“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”

Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance

Local Voices

“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”

Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site

Local Voices

“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”

Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension

Local Voices

“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”

Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society