By Eleanor Phillips Brackbill
When Eleanor Phillips Brackbill got her suburban Westchester condo in 2000, 3 mysteries got here with it. First, from the previous proprietor, got here the knowledge that the Thirties apartment used to be “a Sears condo or whatever like that.” extremely joyful to imagine it would be a Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order residence, Brackbill was resolute to discover facts to turn out it. She stumbled on as an alternative a home pedigree of a special sort.
Second, or even extra provocative, used to be the invention of numerous iron stakes sticking out from the property’s huge, immense granite outcropping, larger in sq. pictures than the home itself. whilst queried approximately them, the previous proprietor instructed her, “Someone many years in the past stored monkeys there, chained to the stakes.” Monkeys? was once this a few type of suburban legend?
A 3rd secret got here to mild at last, whilst a construction inspector’s letter contained a connection with the home having had, at one time, a unique handle. Why may the home have had one other deal with? Her interest aroused, and cause upon discovering the evidence, Brackbill progressively peeled again layers of historical past, permitting the home and the land to inform their tales, and uncovering a previous inextricably woven into 4 centuries of yankee background. while, she chanced on thirty-two proprietors, throughout 350 years, who had only one factor in universal: possession of a selected parcel of land.
An unusual Cape not just tells the tale of an eight-year odyssey of fact-finding and hypothesis but additionally solutions the wider query: “What got here before?” and, via fabric provided in twenty-two sidebars, bargains readers insights and guidance on how to define the tales in the back of their very own homes.
Eleanor Phillips Brackbill is former Curator of schooling on the Neuberger Museum of paintings, buy College–SUNY.
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An Uncommon Cape: Researching the Histories and Mysteries of a Property by Eleanor Phillips Brackbill
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