The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House

The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House Built in 1709, the Vander Ende-Onderdonk house is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City. The house museum is maintained and operated by the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society.
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The mission of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society is to preserve the past and enrich our future through events and programming that engages our community through history.

Operating as usual

#ThrowBackThursday to Onderdonk Avenue during the early 1900s! This vintage postcard depicts the German Evangelical Chur...
01/21/2021

#ThrowBackThursday to Onderdonk Avenue during the early 1900s! This vintage postcard depicts the German Evangelical Church and surrounding buildings on Onderdonk Avenue, between Linden and Grove Streets, in Ridgewood.

The German Evangelical Church is still standing, now known as Safe Haven United Church of Christ (Previously, “St. Mark’s UCC”), at 601 Onderdonk Avenue. Built in 1906, the church was originally fashioned with a combination of stone and wood. Today, the church sports a faux stone facade. However, the original wooden doors have been beautifully preserved. Some of the homes pictured here were demolished and rebuilt in the 1930s. Of the surviving homes, most have new facades but retain a few original details.

The postcard is undated; however, it was likely printed around 1915. All of Onderdonk Avenue is part of the Vander Ende-Onderdonk Farm’s original 100 acre footprint. This parcel of land was sold by Gertrude Onderdonk Schoonmaker sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s. The church and homes pictured in the postcard are some of Ridgewood’s earliest developments.

Photo 1: “Onderdonk Ave., Looking North from Linden Str., and German Evangelical Church,” Date Unknown, GRHS Collection.

Photo 2: “Onderdonk Ave. and Grove St.,” January 2021.

Photo 3: “Safe Haven UCC,” January 2021.

Inauguration Day!  The 20th Amendment, passed in 1933, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future pre...
01/20/2021
The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

Inauguration Day! The 20th Amendment, passed in 1933, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future presidents. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first president to be sworn in on January 20, 1937. Since then every president has been sworn in on January 20th. The Constitution had originally set March 4 as the presidential inauguration date to make sure election officials had enough time to process returns and allow the winner time to travel to the nation’s capital. Want to read the entire amendment?
https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendment/amendment-xx

SECTION. 1. The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years

N is for Newtown! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the 1852 Map of Newtown on display in our Exhibit Room.This his...
01/19/2021

N is for Newtown! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the 1852 Map of Newtown on display in our Exhibit Room.

This historic map is part of the book, Annals of Newtown, by James Riker (1822-1889). “Newtown” is the historic name for the what is now QueensNY, including most of Ridgewood. The book was published in 1852 and tells the history of Newtown “from its first settlement, together with many interesting facts concerning the adjacent towns.”

In 1852, Newtown (Queens), Bushwick, and Brooklyn were three separate cities. The Onderdonk House is visible on the map, right on the boundary line between Newtown and Bushwick. At this time, the house belonged to Ann Wykoff Onderdonk, widow of Adrian Onderdonk who purchased the farm in 1821. Ann’s adult daughter Gertrude also lived in the house with her own family.

Ann Wykoff Onderdonk grew up locally. Her father Nicholas’s farm is visible on map as “N. Wykoff.” Her daughter Gertrude was married to Nicholas Schoonmaker, who also grew up nearby. His father James Schoonmaker’s farm is also visible on the map.

We have a copy of The Annals of Newtown in our Library. Additionally, a large format version of the map on display in our exhibit room.The images here were digitized by the @NYPL. A full version of the text and maps are available online at: https://archive.org/details/annalsofnewtowni00rike

Photo: Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library. (1852). Map of Newtown, Long Island : designed to exhibit the localities referred to in the "Annals of Newtown" ; compiled by J. Riker, Jr., 1852. Retrieved from https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/60614685-f73f-4458-e040-e00a180664f3

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr....
01/18/2021

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), activist, pastor, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King’s life’s work, fighting for the rights of Black Americans, is ever pertinent today in 2021. We take today to reflect on his teachings and ask ourselves, how can we continue his legacy?

Photo: Rice, D., photographer. (1967) Martin Luther King, Jr., half-length portrait, facing left, speaking at microphones, during anti-war demonstration, New York City / World Journal Tribune photo by Don Rice. New York, 1967. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/94505369/.

We listened!  Many of our friends wanted to see our holiday decorations, so you have this weekend to see the Onderdonk H...
01/16/2021

We listened! Many of our friends wanted to see our holiday decorations, so you have this weekend to see the Onderdonk House all decked out in garland and lights before we change out our St Nicholas Exhibit. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 PM - timed tickets. Visit our website. https://onderdonkhouse.org

Tomorrow’s event, “Onderdonk After Dark,” is SOLD OUT. Reserve your tickets now for our next round of Evening Tours- Feb...
01/08/2021

Tomorrow’s event, “Onderdonk After Dark,” is SOLD OUT. Reserve your tickets now for our next round of Evening Tours- February 13th and March 13th!

Wanted to visit this weekend? There are still plenty of time slots left for daytime tours this Saturday and Sunday! Tickets for both regular tours and Onderdonk After Dark are available at the 🔗 link in our bio. See you soon!

#OnderdonkHouse #RidgewoodQueens #Museum #HistoricHouse #NYCtour #NYhistory

M is for Melodeon! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the Melodeon Piano on display in our Victorian Parlor.In the 1...
01/06/2021

M is for Melodeon! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the Melodeon Piano on display in our Victorian Parlor.

In the 1800s, “parlor” rooms were the height of society. The parlor displayed a family’s finest possessions and was reserved for parties, holidays, and visiting with guests. Only wealthier households could afford to have an extra room dedicated to entertaining.

Parlors often contained a musical instrument, such as the Melodeon on the left side of our Museum’s own Victorian Parlor. The Melodeon Piano is a 19th Century American key instrument, similar to the European Harmonium. Both instruments are also called “Reed Organs.”

The first Reed Organ was invented by Viennese musician Anton Haeckl in 1818. Reed Organs use foot pedals and keys to move air through the instrument, causing metal reeds to vibrate and create sound. In most Reed Organs, the air is pushed and forced outward through the instrument. The American Melodeon is different, as it instead uses suction to force air inward through the reeds. Melodeons, Harmoniums, and other Reed Organs were popular as household instruments throughout the 19th Century and into the early 20th Century.

We won Best of the Boro’s Best Museum! Thank you for voting and for your continued support! https://bestof.qns.com/
01/02/2021

We won Best of the Boro’s Best Museum! Thank you for voting and for your continued support! https://bestof.qns.com/

Here’s a 1970s snap shot of the Myrtle Avenue Business District for our last #ThrowBackThursday of 2020! This year has b...
12/31/2020

Here’s a 1970s snap shot of the Myrtle Avenue Business District for our last #ThrowBackThursday of 2020! This year has been tough and trying for many. For us, 2020 has also been a year of innovation and growth. This year, we adopted many new digital technologies and platforms in order to work around shutdowns and connect with our community. Thank you to all of our followers, members, staff, and volunteers. Wishing you all the best in 2021!

L is for Lantern! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the punched tin lantern in our Colonial Sitting Room.The Vander...
12/29/2020

L is for Lantern! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the punched tin lantern in our Colonial Sitting Room.

The Vander Ende Family may have had a punched tin lantern such as the one in our collection. Lanterns were a necessity in the 18th Century. They protected candles from wind outside and reduced the risk of fire indoors. Without street lights, lanterns guided you home in the dark. Lanterns were also part of social customs, hanging a lantern by your front door meant that you were accepting visitors.

Lanterns have been in existence for thousands of years. The earliest depictions of Lanterns are found in writings and art from ancient China, Egypt, and Greece. Early lanterns were made from paper, wood, brass, or copper. The pierced or punched tin lantern is believed to have been invented in Spain around the 14th Century.

By the 1700s, lanterns with metal frames and glass panels became commonplace. However, tin lanterns were still widely used. Sometimes called "poor man's silver," tin became extremely popular in the American colonies because it was inexpensive, lightweight, easy to clean, and very durable. In 18th Century America, tin lanterns would have been purchased from your local Tinsmith, or metal craftsman.

Remember, we are closed Saturday and Sunday, Dec 26 & 27.  We will reopen on January 2 & 3.  Don't forget to buy your ti...
12/26/2020

Remember, we are closed Saturday and Sunday, Dec 26 & 27. We will reopen on January 2 & 3. Don't forget to buy your tickets through Eventbrite for our next Onderdonk After Dark - Candle light Tours of the Onderdonk House! Saturday, January 9, 2021, 5:30 - 7:30 PM. Here's a sneak peek at our restored Kitchen.
https://onderdonkhouse.org/events-list

Prettige Kerst! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! Our Museum’s first Christmas would have been celebrated by Paulus ...
12/25/2020

Prettige Kerst! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Our Museum’s first Christmas would have been celebrated by Paulus and Janetje Vander Ende in 1709. In many of the Northern American colonies, Christmas celebrations were seen as indulgent and heretical. The holiday was still celebrated in New York among members of the Dutch Reform Church- however, their Christmas, (“Kerstydt” in Dutch) was much simpler than what modern Americans are accustomed to.

On December 25th, The Vander Ende family would have gone to church, decorated their house with evergreen garlands, and enjoyed a large family meal. Any parties or revelry would have been geared towards adults. Presents were not likely part of their traditions and the Vander Ende children would not have been visited by St. Nicholas.

Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day) has been a part of Dutch culture since at least the 1300s. The Dutch brought their Christmas traditions, including Sinterklaas, with them to New Amsterdam. However, the Protestant Reformation and British influence placed less importance on Sinterklaas and the holiday was largely cast aside for several centuries.

Following the American Revolution, there there was a resurgence of Dutch traditions in New York, specifically those surrounding Christmas. Sinterklaas was popularized for Americans, in the the late 1700s and early 1800s, through publications by John Pintard, Washington Irving, and Clement Moore. The mythical figure, holiday, and many of its traditions were further popularized (in the Netherlands and America) by a Dutch children’s book written by Jan Schenkman in 1850.

For the Onderdonk Family in the 1800s, much of their winter festivities would have occurred on the evening of December 5th- “Sinterklaasavond,” or St. Nicholas Eve. Adrian and Ann Onderdonk may have hosted a Sinterklass party for their neighbors and friends. Their children, Gertrude and Dorothy Onderdonk, may have left shoes on the windowsill or by the fireplace for Sinterklaas to fill with presents. Festivities would have continued on through Christmas Day until the New Year. “Banketletter,” almond pastries shaped in the first letter of the receiver’s name, and “Pepernoot,” spiced cookies, were popular Dutch treats for the season.

Christmas traditions have evolved throughout history. For many, this holiday season looks and feels starkly different than in years past. We hope that all who are celebrating can find ways to incorporate traditions, new and old, into their day.

Happy Holidays! We will be CLOSED this weekend: Saturday 12/26 & Sunday 12/27. The Museum will reopen in January. Wishin...
12/21/2020

Happy Holidays! We will be CLOSED this weekend: Saturday 12/26 & Sunday 12/27. The Museum will reopen in January. Wishing everyone a restful holiday and a happy New Year!

This weekend Dec 19 & 20 is your last chance to visit in December.  Last minute stocking stuffers from our Gift Shop?To ...
12/19/2020

This weekend Dec 19 & 20 is your last chance to visit in December. Last minute stocking stuffers from our Gift Shop?
To purchase tickets, visit: https://onderdonkhouse.org/plan-a-visit


We will be closed Christmas Weekend, Dec 26 & 27, so our docents can spend time with their families!

It’s always so scenic after a good snow! Here are some snow day highlights. Enjoy!
12/17/2020

It’s always so scenic after a good snow! Here are some snow day highlights. Enjoy!

We hope everyone is staying warm and toasty after last night’s snow. Here’s a photo from a past NYC blizzard for #ThrowB...
12/17/2020

We hope everyone is staying warm and toasty after last night’s snow. Here’s a photo from a past NYC blizzard for #ThrowBackThursday. Someone needs to shovel those steps! Do you recognize this Brooklyn block? Let us know in the comments ⬇️

Image: “Brooklyn Block in Snow,” date unknown, GRHS collection.

Snow is fast approaching and we’re thinking of our favorite winter pastimes! Ridgewood and Bushwick residents of the pas...
12/16/2020

Snow is fast approaching and we’re thinking of our favorite winter pastimes! Ridgewood and Bushwick residents of the past would have strapped on their ice skates and taken to frozen ponds off of Newtown Creek. Ridgewood’s slopping topography offered many hills for sledding. The area was still largely rural in the 1800s, with clear paths and plenty of fresh snow. Bundled up in hand-knit gloves and hats, children would have gathered for snowball fights and snowman building. Still popular today, these winter pastimes are a great option for socially distanced fun outdoors! Our exhibit on Winter Pastimes will be on display all season.

K is for Klompen! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the “Klompen,” traditional Dutch clogs, displayed throughout ou...
12/15/2020

K is for Klompen! This week’s #MuseumAlphabet highlights the “Klompen,” traditional Dutch clogs, displayed throughout our museum.

Klompen are wooden shoes that were traditionally worn by farmers and laborers in the Netherlands. Wood was inexpensive, water-proof, and easy to clean, making these shoes ideal for working outside. The wooden clogs were also sturdy, worn to protect feet from machinery and falling objects, similar to steel-toed work boots worn today. The Vander Ende family may have worn Klompen while working the fields on their 100 acre farm.

Klompen were sometimes carved in different shapes to aid in different tasks- square toes for balance in muddy peat fields or pointed toes to untangle fishing nets. Thick socks, almost like slippers, were worn inside the clogs. Straw or other padding was sometimes added for an extra layer of comfort and warmth. However, the wooden shoes were not perfect and their rigid soles could damage feet with prolonged wear.

The Klompen worn by workers were usually plain. More decorative styles, with carved or painted designs, were worn for special occasions. Sometimes Klompen were decorated to mimic more expensive leather shoes. Floral motifs and geometric patterns were also popular. Klompen are still worn today as part of traditional Dutch costume and occasionally even by farmers.

Klompen are also used in St. Nicholas Day, or Sinterklaas, celebrations. Shoes are left out on the evening of December 5th for St. Nicholas to fill with treats, such as fruit, candy, and small presents. Sometimes children leave hay and carrots in the shoes for the Sinterklaas horse (similar to the reindeer in other Christmas traditions). Today, most Dutch households use modern everyday shoes, but Klompen would have been a common sight for Sinterklaas in 19th Century rural Netherlands.

Its a beautiful day to visit the Onderdonk House!  Our Gift Shop has  great stocking stuffers and gifts for Hanukkah and...
12/13/2020

Its a beautiful day to visit the Onderdonk House! Our Gift Shop has great stocking stuffers and gifts for Hanukkah and Kwanza! We are open 12-5 PM, tickets at https://onderdonkhouse.org/plan-a-visit

Thank you to everyone who came out for Onderdonk After Dark! Our next round of evening tours will be on Saturday January...
12/13/2020

Thank you to everyone who came out for Onderdonk After Dark! Our next round of evening tours will be on Saturday January 9th. Prefer to visit by daylight? We’re open every weekend from 12-5pm. Stop by today!

Tickets and more information are available at Onderdonk-House.eventbrite.com

Onderdonk After Dark!
12/12/2020

Onderdonk After Dark!

Just had a great tour at Onderdonk After Dark!
12/12/2020

Just had a great tour at Onderdonk After Dark!

We will be OPEN LATE tomorrow (Sat 12/12) for our first “Onderdonk After Dark,” special evening tours by candlelight, fr...
12/11/2020

We will be OPEN LATE tomorrow (Sat 12/12) for our first “Onderdonk After Dark,” special evening tours by candlelight, from 5:30-7:30pm! Evening Tours are by RESERVATION ONLY:
Onderdonk-AfterDark.Eventbrite.com

#ThrowBackThursday to 1937! Besides the cars, not much has changed to the appearance of this residential block on 68th R...
12/10/2020

#ThrowBackThursday to 1937! Besides the cars, not much has changed to the appearance of this residential block on 68th Road in Ridgewood, Queens!

Brown street signs mark two half blocks on 68th Road, straddling either side of 60th Lane, as being part the of the #CentralRidgewoodHistoricDistrict. The area was designated in 2014 and is the largest historic district in Ridgewood, containing 990 buildings and portions of 17 different streets. No significant alterations are permitted to the outer architecture and construction of buildings within the district, preserving their historic appearance.

Louis Berger & Company designed over half of the buildings in the Central Ridgewood Historic District, including many on 68th Road. The row houses on 68th Road are characterized by their rounded facades and steep brownstone stoops. These two-story Renaissance Revival style homes were constructed between 1904 and 1914, by local builders, using bricks from the Kreischer Brick Manufacturing Company of Staten Island. Click through for “now” photos, close-ups, and a map.

Address

1820 Flushing Ave
Queens, NY
11385

Bus Q-54 passes and stops two blocks away at the intersection of Flushing and Metropolitan Avenues. Bus B-57 passes the house on Flushing Avenue. "L" subway line to Jefferson Street (Brooklyn) stop; proceed five blocks North (right) along Flushing Avenue. On street car and bike parking is available, plentiful and free!

General information

We preserve local neighborhood records, give history and genealogy talks to grade schools and adults alike. Suggested donation $3.00 adults, $1.00 children except for special events or programs. Check event calendar on the website for other special events throughout the year via Instagram or Twitter.

Opening Hours

Saturday 12:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(718) 456-1776

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Comments

Some of the great vendors at the House today. Come down and enjoy!
My maiden name is Vander Ende!! This is interesting, I've NEVER heard the name anywhere else!