After 50 years floating in bureaucratic limbo and over 200 years in existence, a Dutch-American farmhouse in South Brooklyn has officially earned historic landmark designation and protection from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).
The long-awaited designation decision for the Van Sicklen House, aka the Lady Moody House, 27 Gravesend Neck Road, has been in the works since the house was originally calendared for a public hearing in 1966. Along with many other historic buildings, it then waited until LPC recently decided to tackle the backlog.
According to the Historic Districts Council, the house was built sometime between 1760 and 1810, and is named after the first female European colonial founder in America, Lady Deborah Moody. The house is also named for the lot’s 1702 landowner Ferdinandus Van Sicklen, who has been presumed as the home’s builder.
“While it may have been Lady Moody’s house, it’s a wonderful example of the Dutch-American house type found in Brooklyn and Staten Island during the eighteenth century, and has important ties to the community she founded — Gravesend,” said Landmarks Preservation Commissioner and Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan.
The April 12 vote was part of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s initiative to clear a backlog of 95 locations and is one of approximately 30 landmarks that had been set for landmark designation voting.
“Today’s decision to landmark the Lady Moody – Van Sicklen House is a step in the right direction towards preserving the architecture and history of Southern Brooklyn for future generations,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger.
“We can all breathe a sigh of relief,” added Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz. “In a community where precious few artifacts remain from our long history, this structure reminds us all of a remarkable woman named Lady Deborah Moody who started it all.
“Old homes like the Lady Moody House remind us that once upon a time there were families who lived in Gravesend with children who probably went to a one-room schoolhouse and adults whose hopes and dreams were much like our own,” continued Cymbrowitz. “We’re reminded of the common experiences we share, and this lends a relatable continuity to history that books cannot provide.”
Lady Deborah Moody left England, immigrating to Massachusetts, but was chased out of the colony due to her Anabaptist religious beliefs. Moody then provided the layout for what would later become the town of Gravesend, the only English town among Brooklyn’s six original towns in New Netherlands.
The house is adjacent from the Old Gravesend Cemetery, and is located directly next to P.S. 95 The Gravesend School.