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 condo was once “a Sears residence or anything like that.” extremely joyful to imagine it would be a Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order condominium, Brackbill was resolute to discover facts to end up it. She came across as an alternative a home pedigree of a unique sort.
Second, or even extra provocative, was once the invention of a number of 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? used to be this a few form 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 special handle. Why may the home have had one other tackle? Her interest aroused, and purpose upon discovering the evidence, Brackbill steadily peeled again layers of heritage, permitting the home and the land to inform their tales, and uncovering a prior inextricably woven into 4 centuries of yank historical past. even as, she discovered thirty-two proprietors, throughout 350 years, who had only one factor in universal: possession of a specific 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 provided in twenty-two sidebars, deals readers insights and guidance on how to define the tales at 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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Additional 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