YORKTOWN, N.Y. - In 1766, Jeremiah Travis purchased acreage from John Schuyler, the son-in-law of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, on a country lane now called Granite Springs Road. The land included orchards, meadows and buildings, one of which was probably constructed by a tenant farmer squatting on the property. Today, 250 years later, that modest farmhouse still stands—and has recently been named one of Yorktown’s Homes of Historic Distinction by the Yorktown Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Jeremiah Travis remained loyal to the king throughout the American Revolution and, as a result, his land was confiscated and sold at auction by the Commission on Forfeiture. Subdivided time and again, surrounding acreage passed through a series of hands over the next two centuries, with remarkably few changes to the farmhouse.
In 1983, the property was purchased by Charles and Linda Kiederer, who comfortably lived in the home with their two children for the next 25 years, before starting a major restoration in 2008. The family was extremely mindful of the history of the home, which had been entrusted to them—Linda Kiederer conducted extensive research on the property and the surrounding area. In fact her interest in the history of her home sparked a larger interest in local history—she eventually became president of the Yorktown Historical Society, a post she held for many years.
In preparing for the restoration, the couple discovered that the dining room was the oldest part of the home—a humble cabin constructed atop notched logs next to which a two-story addition with basement had been added in the late 18th century. Three layers of pine flooring were removed from the dining room. The Kiederers lovingly (and laboriously) salvaged the best boards from these, recut the wood and created a beautiful “new” old floor for the dining room.
Today, the rooms of the home ramble cozily. Eighteenth century windows can be seen above the front hall door. The front bannister is original as are most of the doors, floors, stairways and much of the hardware. Original beams can be seen in the upstairs hallway. An early 19th century barn stands behind the home, and an old iron pump stands guard over the original well.
If by chance, Jeremiah Travis or any of the homes other early occupants were able to travel ahead to the 21st century, it is quite likely that they would find this home—despite our now necessary modern conveniences—quite recognizable.
The Yorktown Landmarks Preservation Commission is always seeking applicants for the Homes of Historic Distinction Program. To qualify, homes must have historical significance based on age, architectural style, past ownership or association with a person or event important to Yorktown’s history. Through the program, plaques designating the basic facts about each house’s history are fabricated and installed on or around the home. The commission will work with each homeowner on appropriate wording for the plaque and will assist in research. The cost for the application and the plaque is $100. Applications are available online at yorktownny.org/planning or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was submitted by the Yorktown Landmarks Preservation Commission as part of a series highlighting Yorktown Homes of Historic Distinction.