The Manse is located at 191 Revolutionary Road in the village of Briarcliff Manor, New York. It’s part of the Scarborough Historic District. A “manse” is the residence of a Presbyterian minister when it is owned by the church (other terms for similar homes are parsonages, clergy houses, or rectories).
The cornerstone of the Scarborough Church was laid in 1893 by the married couple Elliott Fitch Shepard and Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard. It was completed in 1895 after Elliott Shepard’s death. In 1913, Margaret Shepard built the Manse and donated it to the Church.
The Manse sits on 1.5 acres in a triangle shape. Along the East side of the property is Revolutionary Road; along the West side of the property is New York Route 9 (otherwise known as South Highland Avenue or Albany Post Road). To the North of the property is the only direct neighbor: the Sparta Cemetery, a Revolutionary-era cemetery which has not had a burial since 2007. (The geography and road names of this area have a fascinating history; that will be the subject of a later post.)
Over the years, the Manse has been occupied by several ministers of the Scarborough Church. However, the last two ministers did not occupy the building. Very little work has been done to the home over the past hundred years; notably, the footprint of the building remains the same.
The Manse is currently assessed as a six-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house [Tax Map]. The building actually has two-and-a-half working bathrooms (with a generous definition of working). There is a non-working remnants of a three-quarters bath in the basement, and a disconnected remnant of a bathroom with tub in the attic. [The basement bathroom is a bit frightening.] There are six bedrooms, including four on the second floor and two in the attic.
Very little in the house has been renovated. The kitchen was apparently gutted sometime in the last fifty years; there was a bathroom that was added post-WWII as well. The house also has an outdoor porch, an enclosed porch, two fireplaces, and a formal living room, dining room, study, and office.
There’s also a garage that mimics the architecture of the original house. It was clearly originally built to accommodate both horses and cars. There’s a chimney that has been closed off and a hay loft. The garage originally had both power and water, but both of those have been disconnected.
Later posts will feature more photos of the property. We’re looking forward to renovating the home. It should be an exciting journey.