The Wyckoff House began life as a one-room farmhouse. It was built in stages, on land purchased from the local Lenape people for the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Former indentured servant Pieter Claesen Wyckoff and his wife Grietje raised their 11 children in it, adding to and expanding it over the years to create the structure that still stands today; the original room is now the kitchen. Exploring the house, in-person or virtually, gives a fascinating glimpse of architectural history. Carefully renovated, with replacement beams sourced from 17th-century barns and reproduction delft fireplace tiles made in the Netherlands, the period rooms have been designed to provide a window into the past. Wyckoff's descendants lived in the house until 1901 when they sold the property.
The Wyckoff House, with its distinctive blue-black siding and white shutters, is also the oldest example of a Dutch saltbox house in America. Named for the wooden lidded salt cellars typical of the time, the saltbox house is a popular architectural style dating from the 1600s. A timber-framed home with unequal sides and a distinctive gabled roof—often called a “catslider”—that slopes down from the taller front of the house to the lower back level, the saltbox style evolved as an easy way to enlarge a house by adding a one-story shed to the back. Saltbox houses frequently have a centered chimney and clapboard siding, though some are finished with brick.