By Eleanor Phillips Brackbill
When Eleanor Phillips Brackbill acquired her suburban Westchester residence in 2000, 3 mysteries got here with it. First, from the previous proprietor, got here the knowledge that the Nineteen Thirties apartment used to be “a Sears apartment or anything like that.” delighted to imagine it would be a Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order condominium, Brackbill was resolute to discover facts to turn out it. She chanced on as a substitute a home pedigree of a special sort.
Second, or even extra provocative, was once the invention of numerous iron stakes sticking out from the property’s huge, immense granite outcropping, greater in sq. pictures than the home itself. whilst queried approximately them, the previous proprietor informed her, “Someone many years in the past saved monkeys there, chained to the stakes.” Monkeys? used to be this a few form of suburban legend?
A 3rd secret got here to gentle at final, whilst a construction inspector’s letter contained a connection with the home having had, at one time, a special handle. Why may the home have had one other deal with? Her interest aroused, and rationale upon discovering the proof, Brackbill steadily peeled again layers of background, permitting the home and the land to inform their tales, and uncovering a previous inextricably woven into 4 centuries of yankee historical past. even as, she chanced on thirty-two vendors, 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 in addition solutions the wider query: “What got here before?” and, via fabric offered in twenty-two sidebars, bargains readers insights and instructions 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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Extra resources for An Uncommon Cape: Researching the Histories and Mysteries of a Property
An Uncommon Cape: Researching the Histories and Mysteries of a Property by Eleanor Phillips Brackbill