Built by Louis Bevier,
the Patentee, in 1698.
Elting Homestead from
1740. This house has an
Louis Bevier - The Patentee
is known of where or when Louis Bevier was born or
grew up. There is evidence of a Bevier family near
the town of Speyer in the German Palatinate in the
1660's. It is very possible that Louis Bevier is part
of this family as it is known that he married his
wife, Marie LaBlanc, in Speyer in 1673.
What is known of Louis
Bevier is that he arrived in the New World in 1675
and took up residence on Staten Island in the then
Dutch colony of New Netherlands. Two years later he
traveled up the Hudson to Wiltwyck (now known
as Kingston), and joined in the community of
other Huguenots there. His late arrival is evidenced
by his name not appearing on the original application
for the land Patent. But his name does appear on Governor
Andros' documents affirming the grant of land, so
he became involved mid-way in the process.
Louis Bevier was probably
the wealthiest member of the group of 12 families
and over time accumulated a large estate purchasing
additional lands. His wealth made him the cultural
leader of the settlement. In 1705 his sons Jean and
Abraham moved onto the separate parcels of land purchased
by Louis Bevier in Wawarsing and Marbletown and their
homes can be found there today.
In the early 1700's Roelif
Elting arrived in New Paltz with "a belt of gold about
his waist." In 1703 he married the daughter of Abraham
DuBois, Sarah. By 1740 Roelif had rented the western
street side room of the Bevier House and operated
a general store from it and in 1760 Roelif purchased
the Bevier House from Louis Bevier's son Samuel. From
that point the focus of the Bevier family shifted
away from New Paltz to their other land holdings in
The house was passed
on to Roelif's son Josiah upon his death. Josiah passed
it to his son Roelif who married the daughter of Rebecca
Freer and Johannes Low and lived in the house during
the American Revolution. Their son Ezekiel in 1799 built
the house further to the south on Huguenot Street now
known as the LeFever House.
Bevier-Elting House remained continuously in the families
hands into the 20th century. In 1963 the Beveir-Elting
Family Association gave it to the Huguenot Historical
Society. Until that time it had been continuously
occupied by direct descendants of the Elting Family.
The original structure
of the Bevier-Elting House followed a very similar
plan to the others of the settlement, with three exceptions,
making this structure unique within the New Paltz
settlement. The original section, what is now the
middle of the house was finished by 1698 and followed
the same three tier plan.
After his death Louis
Bevier passed the house to his son Samuel. Samuel
and his family had moved into the house with his father
sometime after 1715 when his sister, Esther married.
Sometime between 1715 and 1720 Samuel added onto the
house creating the room on the west adjacent to the
street. It is speculated that the construction was
during this time as Samuel had 9 children and there
was obviously a need for additional room. This addition
was lower, at street level, but followed the same
configuration of main room, loft and cellar.
1735 Samuel added onto the house for the second time,
this addition to the east of the original structure
sandwiching the original building between the two
new additions. Again, this addition followed the same
three level design turning the Bevier-Elting House
into a Hudson Valley Dutch Three Room. Of note in
this addition are two things. First, the beams supporting
the floors are set at right angles to the original
structure and western addition ending on the gable
end of the building rather than the side walls, unique
in the houses in New Paltz. Second interesting architectural
detail is that in building this section of the house
they added a "drip edge" on the outside. This detail
is purely decorative but plainy visible and helps
to deliniate this addition from the rest of the building.
The drip edge is roughly at the level of the main
interior room floor and protrudes out from the face
of the wall about an inch and a half.
When you are touring the
Bevier-Elting House you should pay particular attention
when you enter the newest addition, the east addition,
of the house. Unlike all the other houses you will
enter in New Paltz, including the other two rooms
of the Bevier-Elting House, the windows in this room
are very small. These windows are the original size,
if not the original windows, that would have been
built into the room. They are also the size windows
that would be found in all the buildings of New Paltz.
Somehow this set of windows survived the centuries
and were never enlarged, and so provide an excellent
way to experience what it was actually like in the
Despite the Bevier-Elting
House following the standard three level plan used
in all of the early houses of New Paltz, there are
three very interesting differences that set this structure
apart from everything else in the settlement.
The first departure is
the orientation of the house to the street. It is
constructed with the gable end facing the street.
This orientation is standard of an urban setting as
it minimizes the street exposure. If you look at contemporary
paintings of Dutch urban architecture you will find
this orientation to be almost universal. This is the
pattern followed in New Amsterdam (now known as
New York City) and Beverwyck (now known as
Albany). Only this house and the Fort across
the street put their gable ends to the street.
second departure is plainly obvious as you go to enter
the house from the kitchen side. You must climb a
set of stairs. The original main room of the house
is raised substantially above the level of the ground.
Beneath the main room of the house is the standard
cellar room and kitchen as in the other houses of
New Paltz. Unique to the Bevier-Elting House is another
room beneath the kitchen, a sub-cellar. It is speculated
that the level of the main room of the house was dictated
by this sub-cellar, they could only go so far down.
To construct the sub-cellar required extensive excavations
even to achieve its current depth. Even so, the extent
of the excavations have caused enormous settling of
the house over the centuries, more so than any of
the other structures in New Paltz.
When the sub-cellar was
discovered there was intense speculation that it provided
an access to a tunnel leading across the street to
the Fort. Or that it was used to hide slaves or that
the settlers used it to hide from the Indians. All
of these speculations have been completely disproven.
It was a root cellar.
The third departure
is the obvious side porch that was added onto the house
after all other construction was completed. The side
porch was an after thought believed to have been added
by Samuel as a convenience for his wife.
This "sticking on" of
the porch is plainly evidenced by just looking up
at where it joins with the roof. All along the eaves
of the house were run wooden gutters to catch and
divert the rain. On the Bevier-Elting House these
were supported by stones set into the walls protruding
out for the gutter to rest upon. These protruding
stones continue along the entire length of the eave
of the house, under the porch roof.
This side porch provided
covered access to the kitchen after the interior trap
door was closed off. It would also have provided the
women of the family with a covered place outdoors
to do their spinning and other domestic chores.
The interiors of the
Bevier-Elting House have been restored back to and are
being interpreted roughly to the Samuel Bevier period
of about 1735. Within the house are several fine examples
of period furniture in each of the three main rooms.
Visitors are taken through these three rooms as well
as down into the cellar kitchen where they can see the
The Bevier-Elting Family
Association has been central in the restoration and
furnishing of the home. Many of the pieces are family
herilooms passed down through the generations and finally
brought back together. However the furnishings of the
house are not all specific to the time period of 1735.
There are many later pieces in the collection as well.
Effort has been
made to discover the correct color paint used on the
interior wood surfaces, and many have been restored
to the original colors of dark burgundy and turquoise.