The bottom portion of this stone and brick house was built in the late 1600s by Stephanus Van Cortlandt, who amassed the surrounding land. In 1749, his grandson, Pierre, turned the simple hunting lodge into an elegant residence, adding the upper stories and porches. The house remained in the Van Cortlandt family until 1945 and was purchased in 1953 by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to assure its preservation.
Most of the furnishings in the paneled rooms belonged to the Van Cortlandts and reflect their occupancy. Additionally, the home features family portraits as well as porcelain and china. The kitchen is the best equipped of its period in America and both the gardens and orchard are tended by workers in period dress and are historically accurate: only heirloom species available during the post-Revolutionary period are grown.
The grounds also include a restored ferry house, built before 1750, which once served travelers on the Albany Post Road, and a reconstructed tenant house, where demonstrations of textile-making and open-hearth cooking are offered. A walking trail affords a vista of the property and the Croton River.