Van Cortlandt Mansion, Porter statue

William Clark Noble, 1902

This fieldstone and brick Georgian style manor is The Bronx’s oldest house, built for Jacobus Van Cortlandt’s son, Frederick. He died before its completion, and was buried in the family burial plot on Vault Hill, north of the house. During the British occupation in 1776, Jacobus’s grandson, Augustus, serving as City Clerk, hid the municipal records in the house’s vault. George Washington used the house as a temporary headquarters before his triumphant march into Manhattan. Since 1897, it has operated as a house museum (the city’s first), with a collection of 18th and 19th-century art and furniture. The grounds include a bronze statue of Major General Josiah Porter and a window from the Rhinelander Sugar House, formerly located in Lower Manhattan. One of several warehouses where sugar and molasses imported from the Caribbean were stored before shipment to Britain’s refineries, the British used the Sugar Houses as prisons during the Revolutionary War, though it is not known whether Rhinelander was one of these. The Van Cortlandt Mansion was designated a New York CIty Individual Landmark in 1966 and Interior Landmark in 1975, it was added to the State and National Register of Historic Places in 1967 and was names a National Historic Landmark in 1976.