Description - This small stone house, once owned by Abraham Van Gaasbeek, is the site where New York's first Senate met during the Revolutionary War. This important structure was recognized early in New York's history, thereby acquiring the site in 1887. In 1927, a two-story museum was erected to house major pieces of art by notables that include John Vanderlyn, Ammi Phillips, Joseph Tubby, James Bard and Thomas Sully. The site is open April through October including the major summer holidays. Groups may tour throughout the year with advance arrangements.
Copyright: New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Senate House State Historic Site
- Amidst the turmoil of a British military invasion in the fall of 1777, the elected representatives of rebellious New Yorkers met in Kingston to form a new state government. While convened in Kingston in September and October, New York's first Senate met in the simple stone house of merchant Abraham Van Gaasbeek.
In 1887, to recognize Senate House's role in the Revolution, New York State acquired the property, which quickly became a vital community museum. A two-story Museum Building was constructed in 1927 to house and display the site's burgeoning collection. Among its treasures are: major art works by John Vanderlyn and other members of the Vanderlyn family of Kingston, dating from the 1720's through the 1870's, and notable paintings by Ammi Phillips, Joseph Tubby, James Bard and Thomas Sully.
Recreation - Senate House State Historic Site offers manicured gardens, educational services, group tours, guided tours, picnicking, re-enactments and visitor center / museum. The historic site is open mid-April through October, Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. It is also open Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Admission is $3.00 adults, $2.00 NYS senior citizens and $1.00 children ages 5-12. Children under 5 admitted free. Group tours are offered year-round with advance scheduling. Cost for group tours is $2.00 adults and $1.00 students.
Climate - The historic site experiences average January temperatures above 22 degrees Fahrenheit (above -6 degrees Celsius). Summer temperatures average around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (around 22 degrees Celsius). Precipitation in the region ranges from 40 to more than 44 inches of rain and snowmelt. The central Catskills receive the highest precipitation.
Senate House is located in Kingston at 296 Fair Street.