Hidden in the outskirts of Brooklyn lies a landmark that largely remains unknown to the public. In quiet Marine Park, the Lott House is a hidden gem built starting in 1720, expanded to its current form in 1800. At its peak, the Lott family owned over 200 acres worth of land, according to the Historic House Trust. Much of their property would be sold off in the 1920s, with the neighborhood later becoming known as Marine Park.
But this very old Brooklyn house is filled to the brim with history: it is even recognized as a possible stop on the Underground Railroad by Heritage New York, according to Alyssa Loorya, president of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants. One closet has a hidden compartment that may have been used to hide runaway slaves.
“It’s impossible to find a smoking gun for this because it’s the Underground Railroad,” Cornell University historian Thomas J. Campanella tells us. “But it makes sense because people could have come up Gerritsen Creek – from the New York harbor, across from New Jersey. That was a known route.”
More importantly, what makes this a sight to behold are the new renovations. In the last few years, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hendrick I. Lott House Preservation Association have been working to refurbish the historic spot.
First, they fixed up the entire exterior: they put in a new fence, replanted the backyard and even built a new well and outhouse. Since then, they have temporarily opened the yard to the public.
However, the interior still needs to be renovated. The wallpaper is falling off, the ceiling has holes in it and certain areas are dilapidated. But even in this state, the inside of the Lott House is filled to the brim with interesting things. Whether it is the original furniture, the bevy of priceless artifacts or the hidden door in the closet, one can only imagine how exciting this location will be once it is done.
For further proof, check out Untapped Cities’ video tour of the famous Lott House.
Next, read about 10 Stops on the Underground Railroad in NYC.