The hamlet of Chappaqua is home to several historical structures. One notable property is the barn pictured here that Horace Greeley built on his farm in 1856.
History books tell us this was the first stone and concrete structure built in the United States. The barn overlooked his farmlands that are now much of the area we now know as “downtown Chappaqua.” Notoriously frugal, Horace Greeley considered concrete more economical and warmer than traditional wooden barns. Not only was its structure unique, but the barn’s “form equals function” design pre-dated Bauhaus by 60 years. The barn was made from 4,000 to 6,000 tons of stones gathered or blasted from the surrounding area. Greeley, known as a man of ideas, was interested in improving the practice of agriculture in any way he could. Greeley’s idea of a poured concrete and stone structure was an engineering feat for the time. Cattle were housed on the main level (now a very large family living room 20×40 feet and 15 feet high with a floor to ceiling stone fireplace). The basement was accessible to carts through an arched stone entrance (now serving as the entrance to the doctor’s consultation office). Hay was brought to the second floor by a rear entrance where the grade was higher, thus eliminating the need to lift heavy bales.
After his death, Greeley’s daughter Gabrielle inherited the barn. She and her husband, Reverend Clendenin converted the barn into a five bedroom family home designed in the Victorian Gothic style. They named the home Rehoboth after the biblical term meaning “broad space.”
“This special property has been the home to the same Chappaqua family for the last 41 years,” states Helen Dorman, the listing agent. “It is a fabulous opportunity to own a piece of history.”
The home is currently featured in the Chappaqua Historic Society exhibit, “New Castle’s Beginnings: Our Founding Farms.” It is also listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.