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At home in Pieter Bronck’s world

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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Bronck Museum Curator Shelby Mattice (right) in the historic home’s cellar, talking about the architecture of the 1663 house.
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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Shelby Mattice (middle) showing the design of the Bronck Dutch farmhouse.
July 19, 2017 - 01:53 pm

Celebrating Pieter Bronck’s 400th birthday, the Greene County Historical Society and the Bronck Museum held their second installment of the “Bronck Family at Home in Pieter’s World” tour last Sunday.

In 1939, the last family owner gave the 11 structures and surrounding acreage to the Greene County Historical Society to serve as the Society’s headquarters museum, according to www.gchistory.org.

“Bronck Family at Home in Pieter’s World” are special tours that focus on the original owner, Pieter Bronck, and how he lived and inhabited the property.

This particular tour focused on the architecture of the buildings themselves. The last special tour focused on Bronck as a brewer.

“I’m always interested in the earliest things,” said Shelby Mattice, curator for the Bronck Museum for nearly 40 years. “[The Bronck museum] is so early — it’s the very foundation of life in this area.”

The first house on the site was built in 1663 — further additions to the property were added as the years went on, such dwellings and farm houses, all featuring unique Dutch architecture, Mattice said.

The tour started in the cellar underneath the 1663 house, then moved to the farmhouse, and then finished off inside the ground floor of the 1663 house.

“These aren’t just regular tours — this is special content,” said Mattice. “This one was about the architecture — how they built these buildings and with what.”

The Bronck House is the oldest perishable house in the state, Mattice said, referencing the structure’s wood frame.

“It’s interesting because I have a barn and house that’s the same basic structure [as Bronck’s],” said Sue Barger, of Westerlo. “This is my first tour — it’s great that this has been preserved.”

Barger’s barn and house comes from her husband’s family, she said. They were built in the 1700s.

“When Pieter Bronck first arrived on the property, he had a gargantuan selection of trees,” Mattice said during the tour Sunday afternoon.

Bronck used huge, dense pine trees that were naturally impervious to water as the beams to support the house. The trees became extinct after the Revolutionary War, said Mattice.

“It was unique how the construction was,” said Robert Michael, of Hudson. “I’m impressed how it has remained,”

For Michael, on his first tour of the Bronck Musuem, it was interesting because he owns a barn similar to how the Bronck farmhouse was built.

“My favorite part was inside the home,” he added,

For more information or a schedule of events, visit www.gchistory.org or call 518-731-6490.