Catskills, Then and Now: Hoffman House

June 13, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

94 North Front Street, Stockade District, Kingston, Ulster County

 

The Hoffman House was built in the mid-17th century (prior to 1679, although the exact date of construction is unknown) and is considered to be an excellent example of early American Dutch rubble architecture. The Hoffman House was situated in the northwest corner of Kingston’s historic Stockade District and thus served as a lookout and fortification, first against Indian attacks and later the British Army. Some of these early architectural traits can still be seen, such as the attic steps that lead to the building roof and musket holes in the upper floors. The building was damaged during the American Revolution when the British Army attacked and burned the city of Kingston on October 16, 1777, but was quickly restored. The house is named for the Hoffman family, who owned the house from 1707 until 1908. The most prominent member of the family to reside in the house was Anthony Hoffman (1711-1784), who lived in the house during the 1770s and was a large estate owner, Trustee of Kingston, a Judge in Dutchess County, a member of the Provincial Congress and a signer of the 1775 Articles of Confederation. 

 

In 1908, the house was sold to the Salvation Army, and over the following decades was used as a storage facility before eventually falling into a state of disrepair. The house was purchased in 1973 by the Kingston Urban Renewal Agency, who restored the building exterior. It was then purchased in 1975 by Pat and Ginny Bradley, who wonderfully restored the building interior over the course of two years. Many of its historic features, such as floorboards, mantels and door handles, can still be seen. Since 1977, the Hoffman House Tavern has served as a popular restaurant and gathering place featuring classic continental dishes. Visit their website at www.hoffmanhousetavern.com for more information.

 

The vintage postcard depicts both the Hoffman House and the De Wall Tavern in the Stockade District of Kingston, NY. The Hoffman House is the larger, main subject. The postcard was published by A. C. Bosselman & Co. located in New York. The postcard was never mailed, but as per the Library of Congress digital collections the postcard is from circa the 1890s. The second photograph was taken in 1973 by Jack Boucher as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey. My photograph was taken in the fall of 2017.

 

1890s

The De Wall Tavern and the mid-17th century Hoffman House in the historic Stockade District of Kingston, New York are depicted on this vintage postcard.De Wall Tavern and Hoffman HouseThe De Wall Tavern and the Hoffman House in the historic Stockade District of Kingston, New York are depicted on this vintage postcard. The postcard was published by the A. C. Bosselman & Co. located in New York. The postcard was never mailed.

The Hoffman House was built in the mid-17th century (prior to 1679, although the exact date of construction is unknown) and is considered to be an excellent example of early American Dutch rubble architecture. The Hoffman House was situated in the northwest corner of Kingston’s historic Stockade District and thus served as a lookout and fortification, first against Indian attacks and later the British Army. Some of these early architectural traits can still be seen, such as the attic steps that lead to the building roof and musket holes in the upper floors. The building was damaged during the American Revolution when the British Army attacked and burned the city of Kingston on October 16, 1777, but was quickly restored. The house is named for the Hoffman family, who owned the house from 1707 until 1908. The most prominent member of the family to reside in the house was Anthony Hoffman (1711-1784), who lived in the house during the 1770s and was a large estate owner, Trustee of Kingston, a Judge in Dutchess County, a member of the Provincial Congress and a signer of the 1775 Articles of Confederation.

In 1908, the house was sold to the Salvation Army, and over the following decades was used as a storage facility before eventually falling into a state of disrepair. The house was purchased in 1973 by the Kingston Urban Renewal Agency, who restored the building exterior. It was then purchased in 1975 by Pat and Ginny Bradley, who wonderfully restored the building interior over the course of two years. Many of its historic features, such as floorboards, mantels and door handles, can still be seen. Since 1977, the Hoffman House Tavern has served as a popular restaurant and gathering place featuring classic continental dishes. Visit their website at www.hoffmanhousetavern.com for more information.

The De Wall Tavern, located on North Front Street between Green Street and Crown Street, was “an exclusive sort of tavern . . . [and] the gathering place for Kingston society after the Revolution. They danced on a spring floor in its ballroom.” Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester in his 1880 History of Ulster County, New York wrote that the De Wall tavern was a “famous place of entertainment of old Kingston. It was not a hotel, but took boarders from time to time, more especially during the sessions of court. It, however, contained a capital ball-room greatly used in those old days. This house was the scene of assemblies or balls, which were given by the young people, the expenses being divided among them and were very frequent in the wintertime. The music consisted of a single fiddle, and dress was always expected. At a later date still no gentleman was admitted except in dress-coat, white stockings, and pumps, unless he maintained the knee-breeches and silk stockings of an earlier day. A salver, with refreshments, was handed round after dance, and these consisted of two kinds of cake and two kinds of mine, – Malaga, for the ladies, and Teneriffe, a species of Madeira now rarely found in the markets. Added to these was the popular drink of gin-sling, which our ancestors very much affected, and which, forsooth, ofttimes very much affected our ancestors.”

The De Wall Tavern, constructed of native stone before the American Revolution, was purchased by William De Waal (died 1820) from William Eltinge in 1789. Marius Schoonmaker wrote of the owner in the 1888 The History of Kingston, New York that De Waal “was a native Hollander and very popular as a landlord. He was one of the few men who could get into political disputes with his guests, and let out volley after volley of oaths upon them, and still retain their custom and good-will. His wife was an excellent, kind-hearted woman, who tried to control him; sometimes she would succeed in silencing him, but frequently her efforts would meet with little success as they did with the Quaker who was their guest one night. After supper, while sitting around the fire in the evening, Dewaal and the Quaker got into a political dispute. Dewaal waxed warm, and began to let off volley after volley of oaths, etc. when Mrs. Dewaal interposed, saying mildly, “Waaltje! Waaltje!” “Yes, yes,” he replied in Dutch, “I know what you mean, but the talk of this d-----d buttonless ‘dunder skint’ is too much for me to stand.” (Page 386.)

The De Wall tavern building was devastated by an 1804 fire but was then rebuilt. The building was for a time used for apartments and was repurposed as a furniture store in the 1940s. The tavern was destroyed in the early 1960s to make way for a municipal parking lot.

 

1973

The historic mid-17th century Hoffman House Tavern is located in the Stockade District of Kingston, New York.Hoffman House94 North Front Street, Stockade District, Kingston

The Hoffman House was built in the mid-17th century (prior to 1679, although the exact date of construction is unknown) and is considered to be an excellent example of early American Dutch rubble architecture. The Hoffman House was situated in the northwest corner of Kingston’s historic Stockade District and thus served as a lookout and fortification, first against Indian attacks and later the British Army. Some of these early architectural traits can still be seen, such as the attic steps that lead to the building roof and musket holes in the upper floors. The building was damaged during the American Revolution when the British Army attacked and burned the city of Kingston on October 16, 1777, but was quickly restored. The house is named for the Hoffman family, who owned the house from 1707 until 1908. The most prominent member of the family to reside in the house was Anthony Hoffman (1711-1784), who lived in the house during the 1770s and was a large estate owner, Trustee of Kingston, a Judge in Dutchess County, a member of the Provincial Congress and a signer of the 1775 Articles of Confederation.

In 1908, the house was sold to the Salvation Army, and over the following decades was used as a storage facility before eventually falling into a state of disrepair. The house was purchased in 1973 by the Kingston Urban Renewal Agency, who restored the building exterior. It was then purchased in 1975 by Pat and Ginny Bradley, who wonderfully restored the building interior over the course of two years. Many of its historic features, such as floorboards, mantels and door handles, can still be seen. Since 1977, the Hoffman House Tavern has served as a popular restaurant and gathering place featuring classic continental dishes. Visit their website at www.hoffmanhousetavern.com for more information.

The photograph was taken in 1973 by Jack Boucher as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey.


Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, et al., photographer by Boucher, Jack E. Whittaker-Hoffman House, North Front & Green Streets, Kingston, Ulster County, NY. ed by Mccown, Susanitor, Burns, Johnitor, and Cronenberger, Richarditor Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/ny0836/>.

 

2017

The historic mid-17th century Hoffman House Tavern is located in the Stockade District of Kingston, New York.Hoffman House94 North Front Street, Stockade District, Kingston

The Hoffman House was built in the mid 17th century (prior to 1679, although the exact date of construction is unknown) and is considered to be an excellent example of early American Dutch rubble architecture. The Hoffman House was situated in the northwest corner of Kingston’s historic Stockade District and thus served as a lookout and fortification, first against Indian attacks and later the British Army. Some of these early architectural traits can still be seen, such as the attic steps that lead to the building roof and musket holes in the upper floors. The building was damaged during the American Revolution when the British Army attacked and burned the city of Kingston on October 16, 1777, but was quickly restored. The house is named for the Hoffman family, who owned the house from 1707 until 1908. The most prominent member of the family to reside in the house was Anthony Hoffman (1711-1784), who lived in the house during the 1770s and was a large estate owner, Trustee of Kingston, a Judge in Dutchess County, a member of the Provincial Congress and a signer of the 1775 Articles of Confederation.

In 1908, the house was sold to the Salvation Army, and over the following decades was used as a storage facility before eventually falling into a state of disrepair. The house was purchased in 1973 by the Kingston Urban Renewal Agency, who restored the building exterior. It was then purchased in 1975 by Pat and Ginny Bradley, who wonderfully restored the building interior over the course of two years. Many of its historic features, such as floorboards, mantels and door handles, can still be seen. Since 1977, the Hoffman House Tavern has served as a popular restaurant and gathering place featuring classic continental dishes. Visit their website at www.hoffmanhousetavern.com for more information.

 


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