The Old 76 House
The Old 76 House
The Old 76 House (2010)
|Location||110 Main St, Tappan, New York|
|Part of||Tappan Historic District|
|NRHP reference #||90000689|
Hearsay or legend suggests that the house was built during the founding of Tappan in 1686. The source of this hearsay may be the fact that one Antie Myers, a widow, was licensed in 1705 to sell drink, "as per her recognizance," in her house in the immediate neighborhood of today's '76 House. After her death in around 1721, Antie Myers' house, around the corner from the '76 House, was purchased by Yoast Mabie, a brother of Casparus. The house was demolished in 1835. In 1753, Casparus Mabie bought a piece of land from Cornelis Myers, Antie's son.
The following year, when he built his house on this lot on what was to become Main Street in Tappan, Casparus Mabie included space for a tavern, probably no more than a few tables and benches in a corner of the front room. Two years later, in 1756, court records indicate that the "Supervisors for the County of Orange [met] at the House of Casparus Maybe, in Orange Town October the 5th Anno Domine 1756." These documents describe meetings of the Board of Supervisors over the years and provide details of the food and ale they consumed and the business they conducted.
Other hearsay, such as the ideas that prior to 1755, the '76 House was known as "Mabie's Inn", was home to Yoast Mabie, and was the site of the signing of the Orangetown Resolutions in 1774, has been disproved by historians. Rather, prior to 1755, the '76 House did not exist. The land on which it was built was vacant. Yoast's house was around the corner. It is documented that the Orangetown Resolutions were signed in 1774 in Yoast Mabie's house, now demolished.
The '76 House was often used during the American Revolutionary War as a meeting place for local Patriots. For a few days in 1780, it served as the prison of the Revolution's most notorious spy, Major John André. When the Continental Army encamped in Tappan, the house was the headquarters for General Nathanael Greene. By this time, Casparus Mabie had built another house for his family on "very good upland" behind the '76 House on what is today called André Hill, where the spy was hanged after his trial in the Tappan Reformed Church. General George Washington did not attend the trial, nor did he "question" André, as some sources claim. In fact, Washington did not respond to the spy's request that he be shot as befitted a gentleman and an officer rather than hanged like a common criminal.
As the war continued, Fort Lee in New Jersey and New York City were British strongholds, West Point was a Revolutionary stronghold, and Tappan became a front line in the conflict. George Washington made the nearby De Wint House his headquarters. There is no documentary evidence that he drank or ate at the '76 House. He brought his own chef to Tappan with him, Samuel Fraunces of Fraunces Tavern. Nor is there evidence that he met the British Commander Carleton at the '76 House at the end of the war. The dinner they had together in Tappan was at the De Wint House. Samuel Fraunces was chef.
In 1987, Rob Norden purchased the restaurant, which is now owned and operated by his son, also Rob. The Nordens undertook a significant research and restoration project to restore the older appearance and deal with structural problems. The foundation was strengthened with concrete. The floor and ceiling joists, weakened by sagging of the foundation, were replaced by others from a barn in Ontario as old as the tavern, and the floorboards were replaced with similar boards from a schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. The '76 House is a contributing property to the Tappan Historic District.
In popular culture
Several scenes from "College", the fifth episode of The Sopranos first season, were shot at the Old 76 House as were several scenes from the movie Stepmom starring Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts.
- List of the oldest buildings in New York
- Reformed Church of Tappan
- Tappan Historic District
- The Burton Store
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Howard I. Durie, "Andre's Prison, The '76 House, A History, Relics (Pascack Historical Society), vols. 24 and 25 (1981-1982), nos. 131-137. Also, Orange County Court Records, Deed Book A, pp. 37, 38. And Firth Haring Fabend, "The '76 House: An 18th-Century Tavern or Not?" South of the Mountains (Historical Society of Rockland County), vol. 50 (January–March 2006), pp. 19–21. A longer version of this article appears on www.dutchdoorgenealogy.com. Maps of this neighborhood and its neighbors appear in Tappan: 300 Years, 1686-1986 (Tappantown Historical Society, 1988), p. 26.
- Durie, 1981-1982. David Cole, History of Rockland County, NY (New York: 1884), p. 27. The text of the Orangetown Resolutions was printed in the New York Journal, or General Advertiser, ed. John Holt, on July 14, 1774, Issue 1645, page 3. The paper clearly states that the Resolutions were signed in the "house of Yoast Mabie," which as noted above was around the corner from Casparus's house, today the '76 House restaurant.
- Cole, 1884, chs. IV-XIII. Fabend, 2006, p. 20.
- Isabelle K. Savell, Wine and Bitters, An account of the meetings in 1783 at Tappan, N.Y. and aboard H.M.S. Perseverance, between George Washington and Sir Guy Carleton, commanding generals of the American and British forces at the close of the Revolution (Historical Society of Rockland County), 1975.
- Alicia A. Jettner (October 1989). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Tappan Historic District". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- Sopranos Location guide: Maine restaurant
- IMDb trivia section for Stepmom
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Old 76 House.|
- Official website
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NY-4-18, "Major Andre House (Prison), Main Street, Tappan, Rockland County, NY", 7 photos, 8 measured drawings, 9 data pages, supplemental material