The Dutch cultural and architectural influence was strong throughout New York’s Hudson River Valley in the 17th and 18th centuries. Fort Nassau, the first Dutch settlement in North America, was founded in 1614 near present day Albany. South of Albany, towns such as Kinderhook, Ghent, Claverack, and Rhinebeck began to dot the map. By 1664, the Dutch had lost control of its American colony to the British. The Dutch colonial architecture style continued in the Hudson Valley. In 1737, Luykas Van Alen built his home in what is now Columbia County, one mile south of Kinderhook, New York. Brick was used for a decorative shell. Spread across several bricks, iron wall anchors secured the brick shell to the interior wood posts and beams. Sometimes the wall anchors also showed the date of construction, in this case 1737. The Van Alen home is one of few surviving examples of buildings that used true Dutch architectural practices.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967, the restored Luykas Van Alen house is a house museum representing 18th century rural Dutch farm life in the Hudson River Valley. The Van Alen house, operated by the Columbia County Historical Society, is open seasonally from July to October. Check the Columbia County Historical Society web page for days and hours.
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