Horace Greeley House
Horace Greeley was a journalist and politician and one of the most influential Americans of the mid-1800s. The home in Chappaqua is one of several associated with Greeley, but the only one still extant. The Greeleys bought the house in 1864, several years after purchasing a farm in the area. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a museum open to the public. It also houses the offices of the New Castle Historical Society.
Backstory and Context
Horace Greeley was one of the most influential figures of the nineteenth century. As founder and editor of the New York Tribune, one of the leading periodicals of the day, Greeley helped shape public opinion on the most important issues of the time, including slavery and westward expansion. It was Greeley's newspaper--perhaps Greeley himself--who coined the phrase, "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country."
The Greeley house was built around 1820 by the Haviland family. The Greeleys bought a farm in Chappaqua in 1853, partly as an escape from the pressures of the city and partly because Greeley was interested in experimental agricultural techniques.
The family originally lived in a more remote home that they referred to as the "House in the Woods." The Greeleys were still grieving the loss of their five-year-old son, and Greeley's wife, Mary, found the property too shaded and remote; apparently their surroundings did little to help improve her mental state. Greeley was printing articles in support of abolition, and when a pro-slavery mob threatened their home, Mary became more determined to live elsewhere, particularly following the New York City draft riots.
The year after the riots, in 1864, Greeley bought the King Street property. Drawings of the home done in Greeley's lifetime suggest that it is little changed. Although Horace Greeley still appreciated the solitude of the "House in the Woods" and continued to write there, Mary was much happier in the sunnier, central location.
In 1872 Greeley ran for President against Ulysses S. Grant and lost. That same year both Horace and Mary Greeley died within weeks of each other. Their daughters, Ida and Gabrielle, continued to live in the King Street home, along with an aunt and an older cousin. In the last months of Greeley's life, he had a new family home constructed, known as Hillside House. It was completed shortly before his death. In 1875, the "House in the Woods" burned down, and Hillside House burned down in 1890, leaving the King Street house as the only existing home associated with Horace Greeley.
The home is now a historic house museum open to the public and also houses the offices of the New Castle Historical Society.
Accessed December 10, 2017. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/ec4ff402-4ff8-4d1e-bcb4-90217f5ca3b0?branding=NRHP.
Williams, Gray. Picturing Our Past, National Register Sites in Westchester County, January 1st 2003. Accessed November 18th 2020.
Hale, William Harlan. Horace Greeley, Voice of the People, New York,1950.
Stoddard, Henry Luther. Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader, New York,1946.