is that he first added the room to the east
along the street side, then extended the entire
structure to the north duplicating the two original
rooms plus a very large center hall running
the entire depth of the house. In proceeding
with the additions in this way he was actually
able to save on construction. What became the
interior walls could be constructed merely as
interior walls, not having to be exposed to
the elements and structural and were built of
timber frame filled with brick, mud and straw,
lathed and plastered.
also allowed for the happy co-existance of a
general store on one side of the building and
the family occupying the other side of the building.
The Center Hall also acted as a kind of breezeway
allowing air to circulate completely through
Unique in New Paltz
to the Jean Hasbrouck house is the long central
hall, the square symmetrical layout, the building
being two rooms deep and the overall style of
the finished building. Upon completion it takes
on the form of a Dutch Farmhouse rather than
a Dutch Townhouse. A secondary result of the
design, or potentially a primary reason for
the design, is that the truly massive roof encompasses
nearly three full stories of storage space in
the loft. In essence there is a full barn sitting
atop the house.
When you enter
the house what will probably first strike you
is the depth of the building and the long center
hall. But then look just up a little and to the
left and look at the most massive single unsupported
beam in domestic architecture still surviving
from this period. It is over 40 feet long, the
full depth of the house, and is totally unsupported
from beneath except from its firm anchors in the
side walls. It's fortunate that New Paltz was
a back water and not of much interest to the English
as this beam would have gotten Jean Hasbrouck
into considerable trouble. The English relied
on their American Colonies for wood to create
their fleet. This beam represented a fast disappearing
resource, wood for their masts.
house remained in the Hasbrouck Family until
1899 when it was purchased by the Huguenot Monumental,
Historical and Patriotic Society as their headquarters.
Shortly after that it was turned into what became
known as the Jean Hasbrouck Memorial House and
is now filled with artifacts and displays of
period furnishings and accessories. The Jean
Hasbrouck Memorial House was the only house
on Huguenot Street open to the public for many
years, until the 1960's.
Visitors are taken
through the four ground floor rooms and center
hall. Each of the rooms has been set up with
appropriately arranged period furniture and
accessories, many of which are Hasbrouck heirlooms.
We should also
take a moment to make sure you fully understand
that these rooms are not arranged or furnished
as they would have been in the time of Jean
Hasbrouck or his son Jacob. With the exception
of the kitchen, single use rooms didn't exist
in homes of this period, especially in a rural
setting like New Paltz. People slept, ate and
received visitors all in the same chambers.
Furniture was moved around continuously to accommodate
the needs of the moment. The family would also
have made additional uses of the room containing
the store, even it was not allowed to languish.
are also taken up to the loft of the Jean Hasbrouck
House, the only loft they are given access to.
Upstairs are the original Huguenot Monumental,
Historical & Patriotic Societies collections
of farm implements, stoves, spinning wheels
All of that, tho
interesting, is completely secondary to the
experience of being in this massive attic space.
It towers above you. All of the beams and joists
are original to the expansion of the house and
everything is joined with pegs. Your guide will
make sure to ask you to observe the difference
in the finish of the wood in this space as opposed
to the living spaces. Up in the loft everything
was left rough axed and unplanned, unlike the
fine finish on the woodwork below.
Also original and
towering before you is the chimney from the
first addition when the main room was converted
into the kitchen; rising three stories up to
pass exactly through the center of the roof.
It is the only chimney of its type, size and
period still in existence in America, and is
itself a primary cause of the entire structure
receiving recognition by being placed on the
National Register of Historic Places.
The Hasbrouck Family
Association continues its close involvement
in the care and maintenance of the Jean Hasbrouck
House in partnership with the Huguenot Historical
Society.They have direct input into the collections
and the way things are arranged and displayed.