An Uncommon Cape: Researching the Histories and Mysteries of by Eleanor Phillips Brackbill

By Eleanor Phillips Brackbill

Three mysteries precipitate an research into an another way usual suburban estate, revealing a previous inextricably woven into 4 centuries of yank history.

When Eleanor Phillips Brackbill obtained her suburban Westchester residence in 2000, 3 mysteries got here with it. First, from the previous proprietor, got here the knowledge that the Nineteen Thirties condominium was once “a Sears apartment or whatever like that.” delighted to imagine it would be a Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order condominium, Brackbill was firm to discover facts to end up it. She stumbled on in its place a home pedigree of a special sort.

Second, or even extra provocative, was once the invention of numerous iron stakes sticking out from the property’s huge, immense granite outcropping, greater in sq. photos than the home itself. while queried approximately them, the previous proprietor instructed her, “Someone decades in the past saved monkeys there, chained to the stakes.” Monkeys? was once this a few form of suburban legend?

A 3rd secret got here to gentle at ultimate, while a development inspector’s letter contained a connection with the home having had, at one time, a special handle. Why may the home have had one other deal with? Her interest aroused, and motive upon discovering the evidence, Brackbill steadily peeled again layers of historical past, permitting the home and the land to inform their tales, and uncovering a prior inextricably woven into 4 centuries of yankee heritage. while, she came upon thirty-two proprietors, throughout 350 years, who had only one factor in universal: possession of a selected parcel of land.

An unusual Cape not just tells the tale of an eight-year odyssey of fact-finding and hypothesis but in addition solutions the wider query: “What got here before?” and, via fabric offered in twenty-two sidebars, bargains readers insights and instructions on how to define the tales at the back of their very own homes.

Eleanor Phillips Brackbill is former Curator of schooling on the Neuberger Museum of paintings, buy College–SUNY.

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