Preserve Putnam County
Walter Brewster House
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Old Putnam Gallery
Putnam's Waterways
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In 1850, those approaching or leaving the Village of Brewster would pass by the stately temple-like building perched above Main Street...

A Glorious Past

This fine example of Greek Revival architecture was constructed around 1850. Though built by Walter F. Brewster who had briefly studied architecture at Yale, it is most likely that the design came from a builder’s guide, a common practice of the era. Walter Brewster lived on Marvin Avenue, which was then know as “Riverside” as it flanked the East Branch of the Croton River. Instead, the Greek Revival building was known as the home to John Gail Borden and his family, who in the late 1800’s managed the nearby Borden Milk Factory at the juncture of Routes 6 & 22. The Milk Factory was the one of the most successful of its era, a model of efficiency, cleanliness and science. John Borden was an active citizen and benefactor, donating a pumper for the fire station and participating in civic life.

In 1848, together with his brother James, Walter F. Brewster had purchased the 134-acre farmland that became the Village of Brewster, building passenger and freight stations – the Harlem Line Railroad locomotives stopped at “Brewster’s Station”- and upwards of 50 homes and businesses. Few hints remain today of these original structures, most having succumbed to the many fires of the 19th century and subsequent changes as the economy shifted dramatically in the 20th century with the wane of local industries and construction of the Croton Water System.

Converted to apartments early in this century, the building then became the home of the Knights of Columbus and served as a school while the Brewster Middle School was being built. It stood vacant for several years until purchased by the Landmarks Preservation Society of Southeast in 1977.

The Restoration

Time, weather, vandalism and rampant remodeling had taken their toll on the stately building. All of the original marble fireplaces and first floor window moldings had been removed. The parlor stair had been shifted, taking away from the classic floorplan.

Over months and years, through financial donations and the assistance of historic preservation specialists, the Society restored the building. By visiting other stately homes of the era and through study of paint marks left on the walls of the Brewster House, preservationists were able to recreate the decorative window surroundings. The interior furnishings are not original to the property, but the generous donation of local citizens. Today, grant proposals have been filed to help fund painting of the exterior and donations have helped to replace some of the exterior balusters.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tours and other special events are offered throughout the year, with special holiday activities. Call (914) 279-7429 for more information.

 

 

Society for the Preservation of Putnam County Antiquities and Greenways, Inc.

 

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