Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
Ownership and Administration. State of New York; State Education Department, University of the State of New York, Albany.
Significance. This house is an outstanding representative of the 18th-century Dutch manorial system in the lower Hudson Valley. It served as the social and administrative center of the great manor of Philipsburg, created under English rule in 1693. Governed successively by Lords of the Manor Frederick Philipse I, II, and III, the manor of Philipsburg was closer to the colonial capital of New York and was more intimately associated with its social and political institutions than any of the other Hudson River baronies.
The first Frederick Philipse came to New Netherland in 1647. Although well born, he had little more than his good name when he arrived in New Amsterdam and became a "carpenter" for the Dutch West India Company. In 1657, he acquired the "Small Burgher Right of New Amsterdam," which made him eligible to become a merchant and to occupy certain public offices in the colony. Thereafter his rise was rapid as he acquired houses and land, and profited highly in colonial trade. His marriage in 1662 to Margaret de Vries, a wealthy widow, paved the road to further advancement.
Soon Philipse was one of New Netherland's leading citizens. In 1672, he and two partners bought a large section of the former patroonship of Adriaen Van der Donck, on the site of Yonkers. Several years later Philipse bought out his partners and in succeeding years amassed holdings up the Hudson River Valley as far as the Croton River. By 1693, his estate extended more than 20 miles along the east side of the Hudson and embraced some 156,000 acres. Out of this vast empire, a royal patent in 1693 created the manor of Philipsburg and designated Frederick Philipse as its First Lord.
Philipse's domain then became an important unit in the political and social development of provincial New York. His grandson, Frederick Philipse II, inherited the manor and maintained the family's role of leadership in the colony. Frederick III, however, remained loyal to the Crown when the colonies declared for independence, and in 1776 he was arrested on orders of General Washington and the manor of Philipsburg confiscated. When Philipse and his family fled to England, a colorful chapter in the story of colonial America came to an end.
Sometime in the 1680's, perhaps before the creation of Philipsburg Manor, Frederick Philipse I built a sturdy stone house on the site of Yonkers. Many authorities have asserted that this structure is preserved today as the south wing of the present building. One expert investigator has concluded that part of the foundation may antedate 1682; that part of the southern wing dates from about the period 1682-94; and that the remainder and larger part, constructed by the Second Lord of the Manor, dates from about 1725 or 1730, or possibly as late as 1745.
After the War for Independence, Philipse Manor Hall passed through several hands. For some years following 1868, it served Yonkers as the village hall and later the city hall. Threatened with demolition at the end of the 19th century, it was saved through the efforts of local citizens and organizations. Finally, in 1908, the State of New York accepted an endowment of the house from Mrs. William F. Cochran which specified that it be maintained by the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. Within 4 years, the house was completely renovated. The notable Cochran collection of portraits of presidents and other historical figures was also assembled and exhibited. It includes works by Stuart, Copley, the Peales, Trumbull, and Vanderlyn.
Present Appearance. As restored, Philipse Manor Hall is an outstanding representation of the early Georgian style. The original stone portion of the building forms the base of the L-shaped plan; the later brick addition, a long north arm. The interior is distinguished by intricate plaster-work on the ceilings of a number of rooms in both sections. The older portion of the house probably received this embellishment when the new section was added by the Second Lord.
The manor hall is structurally sound and the exterior is in good condition. The interior walls and ceilings need plastering, and additional period furnishings would be highly desirable. The important Cochran portrait collection is well displayed. The house is open to the public, and tours are conducted. The grounds immediately adjacent to the hall are well kept, but the setting is somewhat marred by surrounding commercial development. 
NHL Designation: 11/05/61
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005