In the 1830s Washington Irving purchased an eighteenth-century tenant farmhouse, which he remodeled into a Gothic and Spanish Revival Cottage called Sunnyside. Irving even added a tower inspired by the Spanish architecture he fell in love with while serving as an Ambassador to Spain.
The house, which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said was “the best known and most cherished of all the dwellings” in the United States after Mount Vernon, remained in the Irving family until 1945. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the house and assisted with its preservation. The house where Irving died is accessible by guided tours.