The Old Stone House in Brooklyn, New York is located in Park Slope at Fourth Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets beside the former Gowanus Creek. Today, one of the branches of the Gowanus Canal ends several hundred feet away from the house, near Third Avenue between Third and Sixth streets. The Old Stone House is a replica of a Dutch stone farmhouse originally built by the Dutch immigrant Claes Arentson Vechte in 1699. It is also known as the Vechte-Cortelyou House. The Vechte family farmed the lands adjacent to the house, harvested oysters in the Gowanus Creek and ferrying their produce to Manhattan down the creek to the Gowanus Bay and thence to lower Manhattan. The farmhouse built of brick and stone is the site of the present day J.J. Byrne Memorial Park (formerly Washington Park) which is near the site of one of the main battles of the Battle of Long Island.
On August 27, 1776, the house was used as an artillery position by an estimated 2000 British and hired Hessian soldiers who fired on the Americans, who had already suffered disastrous losses and were fleeing to the American forts across the Gowanus Creek. Some four hundred soldiers of the Maryland Brigade regained the house twice that day but were finally repulsed by the British. No doubt George Washington was resident in the house on that day, though it does not seem likely that he slept there.
Nicholas Vechte, grandson of Claes, lived in the Old Stone House during the Revolutionary War under the British occupation. Upon his death in 1779, the farm he willed to his grandson, Nicholas R. Cowenhoven. In 1797 Cowenhoven sold the house to Jacques Cortelyou, who purchased it for the use of his newly married son, Peter. Peterís son Jacques inherited the house in 1815. His family was the last to live in the Old Stone House.
After the death of his wife Jacques Cortelyou sold the property to Edwin Litchfield, a railroad developer, in 1852. The house remained standing another forty years and was occupied by an African-American caretaker during that period. It also served as a club house for the Brooklyn Dodgers before their move to Ebbets Field.
The land that the house was on was purchased by the New York City Parks Department in 1923 and the house, which had been razed and burned in 1897 was excavated in 1930 as half of the house was below street level when street level of Fourth Avenue had been graded up at the end of the ninteenth century. The house was reconstructed in 1934 from the original bricks though it was moved slightly from its original location. It underwent additional restoration in the 1970s and 1990s.
Today the Old Stone House Historic Interpretive Center is operated by the First Battle Revival Alliance, a private group that is named after the battle fought against the British during the American Revolutionary War here.