At Banville Law, our Westchester personal injury lawyers think it’s important for all Americans to be aware of our country’s history – including both the positive and negative aspects. Philipsburg Manor is, in our opinion, one of the best places to learn about the dark history of slavery in the northern colonies. Here, you can walk back in time to the 1750s and learn what daily life was like for the 23 Africans who were enslaved on this property, along with the Europeans who enslaved them.
Today, Philipsburg Manor is comprised of three main sites:
Philipsburg Manor House
The Philipsburg Manor House is located in the Upper Mills section of Philipsburg Manor, in Sleepy Hollow, New York. This house was built in 1693 by a wealthy merchant named Frederick Philipse after he was granted a charter for 52,000 acres along the Hudson River by the British Crown. The facility rests at the confluence of the Pocantico and Hudson Rivers and was used as a provisioning depot for the family’s Atlantic sea trade and worldwide shipping operation.
For more than three decades, Philipse and his family used this site to ship hundreds of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic ocean. By the mid-1700s, this operation had become one of the largest slave-holdings in the northern colonies. Various European farmers rented out the manor. In 1750, 23 African men, women, and children lived and worked at the Philipsburg Manor.
When the American Revolution began, the Philipse family supported the British Crown. Their landholdings were seized and auctioned off, and the Philipsburg Manor House was used by the British for military activities.
In 1961, the manor house was named a National Historic Landmark. Some of the historical aspects of this home which are still present today include:
- 17th and 18th-century furnishings
- A working water-powered grist mill and millpond
- 18th-century barn
- Slave garden
- Reconstructed tenant farmhouse
- Costumed re-enactors
Philipsburg Manor Hall
Located in Yonkers, Philipsburg Manor Hall is a historic house museum. This structure was the original family seat of Philipse Manor and is Westchester County’s oldest standing building – dating from the year 1682. Today, Philipsburg Manor Hall is owned and operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
A Dutch-born merchant and trader named Frederick Philipse began building the Manor Hall in 1682. By the time of his death, this property grew to a 52,000-acre estate along the Hudson River, which encompassed the entirety of present-day Yonkers and a sizeable portion of Westchester County.
Today, visitors can learn the history of the colonial north through several collections at Philipsburg Manor Hall, including:
- A paper-mache and plaster Rococo ceiling from 1750, one of only two of its kind in the United States
- 1868 City Council Chamber with a high, vaulted ceiling and woodwork
- 60 paintings from the Cochran Collection of American Portraiture
Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow
The Old Dutch Church of Sleep Holly is a 17-century stone church located in Sleepy Hollow. This is the second oldest surviving church and the 15th-oldest surviving building in the entire state of New York. The church’s 5-acre churchyard is famously featured in Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. In 1961, the church was designated as a National Historic Landmark.