The oldest surviving structure in New York is so old, it even predates New York City.

One of the Top 10 Oldest Homes in America

Public domain
Public domain

The oldest house in America was built in 1641. The Fairbanks House, located in Dedham, MA, was verified to be the country's oldest using dendrochronology.

Then, a little over a decade later, the oldest-surviving structure in New York was constructed in the area that is now the Milton Fidler Park. The Wyckoff House, otherwise known as the Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House was built in 1652 and still stands 5816 Clarendon Road in the Canarsie neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

The house is so historic, it pre-dates the incorporation of New York City. The Big Apple was incorporated in 1653, but was then called by another name at the time - New Amsterdam.

It also is the 10th oldest home in all of America and, unlike some older structures, is one of the few that has never been moved from its original foundation.

History of the Wyckoff House

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0/Dmadeo
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0/Dmadeo

The land where the house now sits was originally purchased by Wouter van Twiller, an employee of the Dutch West India Company, in 1636 from the Lenape people. The Wyckoff house was among the first structures to be built on the newly acquired parcel of land.

It's believed, but not yet proven, that Wouter van Twiller has the home built sometime between 1636 and 1640, which is when he was recalled to The Netherlands.

So the house may actually be older than the structure that's currently believed to be America's oldest by at least 5 years.

Until then, historians are sticking the home's age to when Pieter Claesen Wyckoff and Grietje Van Ness-Wyckoff first moved their family into it back in 1652. A then-teenaged Pieter came to America in 1637 as an illiterate, indentured servant whose job was to help clear the land for the van Rensselaer family that inevitably went on to become Albany.

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Upon completing his contract, he wed Grietje and moved into their humble home, where they raised 11 children. It's said their children have gone on to create 50,000 descendants.

It should be noted the original structure was a tiny, single-room home. The building was expanded and renovated in the1750s and once again in 1819.

The home was eventually sold to developers in 1901, but the structure was never razed. In the 60s, descendents of the Wyckoff family banned together to buy the house and, in turn, donated it to New York City for preservation. To date, the Wyckoff Home is the first structure to have ever been designated a New York City Landmark.

The home underwent a massive renovation in the 80s and was turned into a museum. If you wish to visit, admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students. Children under 10 get in free.

Other Old Structures in NYC that May Surprise You

There are several other historic homes that many would be surprised to find out still exist in the concrete jungle of New York City.

Jim.henderson/Wikimedia Commons
Jim.henderson/Wikimedia Commons

One of these amazing homes is the Dyckman House, which was built in 1784. You can visit it in the Inwood area by taking the A line train to 207th.  To date, it is the last remaining original farmhouse in all of Manhattan.

There's also the Morris-Jumel Mansion, built in 1765, that one can find in Washington Heights.

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