So the last several days have been about removing giant logs from the site and digging up the stumps.
I can only imagine that demolition of the house is next and it seems like a good time (or really, the last possible moment) to look into the history of this house. While I’ve already written extensively about Andrija Puharich who lived there in the 1970s (and I sure hope there’s no residual radiation from the secret experiments that are rumored to have taken place there!) I thought I’d dig a little deeper and find out about some of the other inhabitants.
Thanks to my local history guru Patrick Persons, I basically have the entire chain of title for this parcel going back to the early 1800s. For me, the most interesting part comes when the house was built. According to Zillow, that gracious old white house was built in 1860 and consists of 2,816 sq ft, 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. (I assume there have been a few additions over the years.) If Zillow’s correct, that means the home was built by Benjamin B. and Phebe T. Buckhout. The 1860 agricultural census says that they had 100 acres of improved land and 58 acres of unimproved land, for a total cash value of $12,000. They owned 1 horse, 12 milch cows, 2 oxen, 5 swine and grew rye, oats and Indian corn. According to his Civil War draft registration, Benjamin was an Ossining Justice of the Peace in 1863.
I guess, with all that improved farmland, 87 Hawkes Avenue might have looked treeless and bare in 1860. Just like it does today.