Philipse Manor Hall

Colonial Era Yonkers - Philipse Manor


Philipse Manor Hall photograph taken in 1886

Philipse Manor History in Brief

The southwest corner, the oldest part of the structure, was built around 1682 by Dutch-born carpenter and trader Frederick Philipse, a son-in-law of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, who by the time of his death had amassed a 52,000-acre (208 km²) estate that encompassed the entire modern city of Yonkers, as well as several other Hudson River towns.

During Philipse's life, the building was used primarily as a stopover point on the long journey up and down the river between his home in New Amsterdam and the northern parts of his estate. His grandson, Frederick Philipse II, and his great-grandson, Frederick Philipse III, successively enlarged and enhanced the building, making it the primary family residence.

On November 28, 1776, nearly five months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the start of the American Revolution, Frederick Philipse III and over 200 of his contemporaries signed a document declaring their allegiance to the British crown and their unwillingness to support the Revolutionary cause. (Modern historians often refer to this document as a “Declaration of Dependence.”) Because of his Loyalism, Philipse was branded a traitor and placed under arrest on orders signed by General George Washington. He was held in Connecticut for a time, but was given special permission to travel back to Yonkers to settle his affairs on the condition that he not aid the British cause. In violation of his parole, he and his family fled to British-occupied New York City and later to Great Britain, leaving their estate and Philipse Manor Hall behind.

Philipse Manor Hall was sold at public auction following the Revolution, and occupied by various families throughout the 19th century. In 1868, the building became Yonkers' municipal center (as Village Hall, and later, as City Hall) and remained such until 1908. During this period, an elaborate monument to those Yonkers natives who had died during the American Civil War was installed on the east lawn (1891). See the original program for that day, September 17, 1891 below.

By 1908, the growing complexity of city government had made the building nearly obsolete as a government center. Public meetings were held, and options such as adding wings onto the building and tearing it down outright were discussed. The question became moot when Eva Smith Cochran, matriarch of the Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Company, stepped in and donated $50,000 to the city as a nominal reimbursement for their care of the building during the previous 40 years. This allowed the City to turn ownership of the building over to the State of New York. (Read the incredible details further down on this page) Between that time and the 1960s, the building was owned by the state but cared for by the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. Since the dissolution of the Society, the building is owned, maintained and curated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

From 1911–1912, the most intense restoration project in the building’s history brought the house back to a semblance of its colonial appearance. The building has been open as a museum of history, art and architecture since 1912 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

(Source: Wikipedia)






Photograph of Philipse Manor taken in 1889

The Preservation and Rescue of Philipse Manor. How the The City of Yonkers, The State of New York and the wealth and generosity of one woman, Eva S. Cochran, changed the course of history preserving forever intact, this historic building and property.

On January 7, 1908, the Hon. Francis w. Carpenter introduced in the Senate the bill to provide for the acquisition of the Manor Hall property by the State, and on January 9 the Hon. Harry W. Haines introduced it in the Assembly. With a few verbal changes, the Assembly passed the bill with only one dissenting vote on February19. The Senate Committee made a slight further amendment and reported the bill favorably as follows:


AN ACT to provide for the acquisition by the people of the State of New York of the Philipse Manor House and grounds in the City of Yonkers, Westchester county.


The People of the State of New York, represented

in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:


Section I. The City of Yonkers is hereby authorized and empowered to convey by its deed, to the people of the State of New York, all that certain parcel of land situated in the city of Yonkers, Westchester county, New York, with the buildings and improvements thereon, known as the Philipse Manor House property, or the Manor Hall property, which is bounded on the east by Warburton avenue; on the south by Dock street; on the west by Woodworth avenue, and on the north by the southerly line of the property of the Warburton Hall Association, upon payment to said city, at any time within two years after the passage of this act, by any citizen or citizens of this state, of the sum of fifty thousand dollars, contributed and given for the purpose.

§ 2. Upon delivery of such deed, duly executed, to the Comptroller of this State, in form approved by him, title to such said premises shall be and is hereby accepted by the people of the State of New York; the purpose and object of such deed and acceptance being that the said Manor House and grounds shall be preserved and maintained forever intact as an historical monument and a museum of historical relics and for such historical and patriotic uses.

§ 3. The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society shall be and is hereby constituted and appointed custodian of said property for the State upon conveyance thereof to the State as herein contemplated; and said society, as such custodian, shall have control of and jurisdiction over said property to preserve and maintain the same in accordance with the purpose and object stated in section two of this act until the Legislature shall otherwise direct.

§ 4. The City of Yonkers is authorized to use and occupy the said property as it is now used and occupied, until the completion of the new municipal building or city hall, now in course of construction in said city, unless other provision shall sooner be made for the public business now transacted therein, and during such occupation and use shall maintain and preserve the property.

§ 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

The Senate passed the bill without opposition on Monday, March 30, 1908, and the Assembly passed it in concurrence. On April 13, the Yonkers Common Council accepted the bill and on April 27, Governor Hughes signed it. It is chapter 168 of the Laws of 1908.


On Wednesday evening, July I, 1908, the title to the property was formally conveyed to the State of New York with brief but impressive ceremonies in the Council Chamber in the Manor Hall. The Chamber was filled with officials of the State, City, and American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society and citizens of Yonkers and New York. The Hon. Stephen H. Thayer, Chairman of the Manor Hall Committee of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, presided and made the opening address, explaining the significance of the meeting. Miss Mary Marshall Butler, representing Mrs. William F. Cochran, made the presentation address, concluding by delivering to the Hon. Nathan A. Warren, Mayor of the City of Yonkers, Mrs. Cochran's check for $50,000. Mayor Warren handed the check to Gideon H. Peck, Treasurer of the City of Yonkers, who delivered the receipt therefore to Miss Butler. The Mayor then made an address, concluding by delivering the deed of the property to Earl H. Gallup, representing State Comptroller Martin H. Glynn. As the document which transferred the title of the property from the City of Yonkers to the State of New York was handed to the Comptroller's representative and the Manor HaIl became a Public Monument, the impressiveness of the moment was felt by all present and they rose and remained standing during Mayor Warren's concluding remarks. Mr. Gallup, for the Comptroller, accepted the property in behalf of the State of New York, and was followed by George Frederick Kunz, Ph.D., Sc.D., President of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society; Edward Hagaman Hall, L.H.D., Secretary of the Society; Hon. T. Astley Atkins, Vice-President of the Yonkers Historical and Library Association; Theodore Gilman, of the Yonkers Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and Hon. Daniel H. Cashin, President of the Yonkers Common Council, who made brief addresses.


The Manor Hall property, as conveyed to the village of Yonkers by James C. Bell and Harriet Thomas Bell, his wife, by warranty deed dated May I, 1868, for the consideration of $44,000, embraces "All those fourteen certain lots, pieces or parcels of land situate, lying and being in the Town and Village of Yonkers, County of Westchester and State of New York," which, taken together, are bounded and described as follows: Beginning at a point on the Westerly side of Warburton Avenue distant 175 feet South of the Southerly line of Wells Avenue, and running thence Westerly and parallel to Wells Avenue 200 feet to the Easterly side of Woodworth Place; thence Southerly along the Easterly side of Woodworth Place 179 feet 6 in. to the Northerly side of Dock Street; thence Easterly along the Northerly side of Dock Street to the Westerly side of Warburton Avenue; thence Northerly along the Westerly side of Warburton Avenue ISO feet,· more or less, to the point or place of beginning. Together with all the right, title and interest of the parties of the first part of, in and to the adjoining half of Warburton Avenue, Dock Street and Woodworth Place." Since the above quoted conveyance was made, Warburton avenue has been widened 10 feet and Dock street about 5.5 feet, reducing the width of the Manor Hall grounds from 200 to 190 feet and the depth from 179.5 to 174 feet. The plot contains a little less than an acre.


The deed from the City of Yonkers to the State of New York reads as follows:

II THIS INDENTURE, made the first day of July in the year one thousand nine hundred and eight between 'The City of Yonkers' a municipal corporation duly corporated under the laws of the State of New York, party of the first part and

The People of the State of New York, party of the second part,

.. WITNESSETH, That the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar lawful money of the United States, paid by the party of the second part, and other good and valuable considerations does hereby grant and release unto the said party of the second part, its successors and assigns forever All that certain parcel of land situate in the City of Yonkers, Westchester County, New York, with the buildings and improvements thereon, known as the Philipse Manor House Property or the Manor Hall Property, which is bounded on the East by Warburton Avenue; on the South by Dock Street; on the West by Woodworth Avenue and on the North by the Southerly line of the property of the Warburton Hall Association .

.. The premises hereinabove described being the same premises described in Chapter 168 of the Laws of the State of New York passed in the year 1908,

and pursuant to which act this conveyance is made .

.. Together with the appurtenances and all the estate and rights of the party of the first part in

·and to said premises .

.. To Have and to Hold the above granted premises unto the said party of the second· part its successors and assigns forever .

.. And the said party of the first part covenants with said party of the second part as follows: " First, That the said party of the first part is seized of the said premises in fee simple and hath good right to convey the same .

.. Second. That the party of the second. Part shall quietly enjoy the said premises .

.. Third. That the said premises are free from encumbrances.

" Fourth, That the said party of the first part will execute or procure any further necessary assurance of the title to said premises .

.. Fifth, That the said party of the first part, will forever warrant the title to said premises .

.. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said party of the first part has caused these presents to be signed in its name by its Mayor and its corporate seal to be hereto affixed and attested by its City Clerk, the day and year first above written .

.. (L.S.) The City of Yonkers •


.. Attest

" John T. Geary, City Clerk.

.. State of New York

.. County of Westchester

.. City of Yonkers .

" Mayor .


.. On the first day of July in the year nineteen hundred and eight before me personally came Nathan A. Warren to me known who being duly sworn did depose and say that he resided in • The City of Yonkers· that he is the Mayor of said, The City of Yonkers • the corporation described in and which executed the above instrument; that he knew the seal of said corporation; that the seal affixed to said instrument was such corporate seal; that it was so affixed pursuant to ordinance of the Common Council 0 said' The City of Yonkers' duly enacted and thereafter duly approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of said city and that he signed his name thereto by like order.


.. Notary Public. Westchester County. N. Y .

.. Recorded in the office of the Register of the County of Westchester in Liber 1846 of Deeds. Page 271, on the 24 day of July. A. D. I908. At 8 o'clock - minutes a. m. Witness my hand and affixed seal. Edward B. Kear, Register."


On July 24, I908, the Yonkers Common Council adopted the following resolutions, approving of the transfer of the property and thanking Mrs. Cochran for her gift.

.. Whereas pursuant to the provisions of Chapter I68 of the Laws of I908. and an ordinance of the Common Council, the premises known as the Manor Hall property were on the first day of July, I908. conveyed to the People of the State of New York to be forever held, under the custody and supervision of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society for patriotic and historical. purposes. and

.. Whereas the Comptroller of the City has certified that consideration for such conveyance, namely $50,000.00, was on said first day of July. 1908, paid to the City of Yonkers by Eva S. Cochran, of said city. Therefore be it

.. Resolved, that the Common Council of the City of Yonkers hereby acknowledges receipt of said sum of $50,000.00 in payment for said premises, and approves and confirms the conveyance of said premises as aforesaid. .

" Resolved further that the Common Council hereby expresses its sincere appreciation of the generous patriotism of said Eva S. Cochran in insuring, so far as may be, the preservation and the care of the historic building around whose walls the City of Yonkers has grown.

"Approved July 27,1908,


"Adopted July 24, 1908,

.. Mayor.

" John T. Geary,

.. City Clerk."

On July 3, 1911, the Common Council adopted the following resolution: "Whereas, all of the City offices having been removed from Manor Hall to the new City Hall, therefore be it " Resolved, That the possession of Manor Hall be and the same is hereby delivered to the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society as. custodian for the State of New York."




The Philipse Family History from a speech given in 1895.



The following 3 pages are from the dedication program for the monument erected in 1891 to honor those who fought to save the Union from Yonkers in the Civil War.


The Cover of the Program


Interior page of program


Last Interior page of program


A postcard picture dated 1904


Manor Hall as it was decorated for the Hudson Fulton Celebrations of 1909


The special Float constructed as a replica of Manor Hall for the Historical Parade during Hudson Fulton Celebration October 1909 as it passes through Getty Square