Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
By the early 20th century, the farmhouse was in disrepair and the rural character of the
surrounding neighborhood was quickly changing. The extension of the IRT subway line to
northern Manhattan led to rapid development in the neighborhood and in 1915 the house
was threatened with demolition. Many newspaper articles of the early 20th century
commented on the rapid change in the neighborhood and the many losses of farms and old
In response to the possible danger of losing the farmhouse, Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and
Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, daughters of Isaac Michael Dyckman (aka James
Frederick Smith), the last Dyckman child to grow up in the house, bought the property to
ensure its preservation.
With their husbands, curator Bashford Dean and architect Alexander McMillian Welch, they
undertook a major restoration and furnishing project to bring the house back to what they
believed was the earliest appearance. Dean and Welch produced a small booklet - The
Dyckman House Park and Museum - which documented their work. On the exterior and
interior, features felt to be the oldest portions of the house were retained as much as
possible, but later additions, such as an 1830's northern wing, were demolished.
They worked to gather objects from friends and family in order to furnish the house. Their
work was no doubt greatly influenced by the Colonial Revival movement prevalent at the
time - which resulted in a very romantic notion of colonial life. Their room installations
perhaps didn't truly reflect the hardship of life on a farm in the late 18th and early 19th
century, but did reflect their ideals of family history.
IN THE MUSEUM TODAY
Visitors today can see the work of the founders in the 2nd floor bedroom, which we are
working to restore to its 1916 condition. It provides an excellent contrast to the 1st floor
bedroom which is interpreted to the Farm period.
Mary Alice Dyckman
Dean, Fannie Fredericka
Dyckman Welch &
Alexander McMillan Welch.
The 2nd floor bedroom in 1916.
The Summer Kitchen in 1916.
The parents of Mary Alice and Fannie
Fredericka - Isaac Michael Dyckman and
Fannie Blackwell Brown Dyckman.
All historic images from the Collection of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum