Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cultural Circumstances

Mrs. __B and I spent yesterday on a tour of house museums in Queens. One building, the Bowne House, was built circa 1660 and is either the oldest or second-oldest building in NYC. It is, of course, a farmhouse.


One of the strange consequences of living in an area colonized after the "age of exploration" (my god I loved my 5th-grade history class) is that the oldest remnants are farmhouses and a handful of house-sized churches. Nothing much bigger was built back then except a few mostly-earth forts; the longest settled areas are mostly city centers and have been rebuilt multiple times. The Bowne house survived because (a) Flushing wasn't heavily built up before 1900 and (b) the same family lived in in through nine generations from 1660 to 1945.

In longer-settled areas (say, anywhere in Europe) the oldest above-ground remnants are big: castles, forts, pagan temples, cathedrals. Anything smaller had been eroded by thousands of years of social friction.

7 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Have you checked out the Old Dutch Church up in Sleepy Hollow?

Substance McGravitas said...

While I was living in Iowa I had a friend from India who'd laugh at the antiquities because her post office back home was older than anything the local yokels had.

Smut Clyde said...

On the road north of Wanganui there are a couple of old chimneys that are at least 150 years old.

Another Kiwi said...

Tha6t's pretty old for these parts, eh. I had a friend who lived in a 600 year old house in England. That's a new perspective on a place to live

Substance McGravitas said...

Nearest oldest thing to my place is a 70-year-old school.

N__B said...

Nearest oldest thing to my place is a 70-year-old school.

It must suck getting left back 55 times.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Not so much old stuff around here either. My house is 106 years old; my office is in a 152 year old building. That's pretty much as old as anything extant in Milwaukee.