Ossining Historical Society (Richard Austin House)
Backstory and Context
Located on Croton Avenue in historic Ossining, New York, the home that is now host to the Ossining Historical Society was built in 1881 by Richard Austin, a lawyer and real estate investor. In the early 1870s, Austin made the decision to move away from the village center and, in 1872, he bought three acres of land from his father- in-law, Jeremiah Sniffen, who owned a large farm just outside the village boundary. The home was finally completed in 1881.
The exterior of the home includes Italianate features such as tall, narrow windows on the first floor, an arched front entrance with glazed double doors, and a veranda with scrollwork arches placed between slender pillars. The exterior of the main block of the house is a two and a half story, rectangular, three-bay gable-roofed wood frame structure on a brick and stone foundation. Inside the home is a segmental arched main entrance with surrounding molded frames. The central hall possesses a stairway leading to the upper floors.
Richard Austin and his family lived in the home until 1893. After the Austin family sold it, the home was purchased by a series of three families before becoming the home of the Ossining Historical Society in 1970. One of the families built the two and a half story rear addition in 1911. In 1920, the barn located at the rear of the property was moved just up the road and was turned into a private residence.
The Ossining Historical Society was officially founded in 1931 to "preserve and celebrate the town's unique history." Originally, meetings were held at the home of the first president of the historical society, Mrs. Fanny Kane. Subsequently, meetings moved to the Ossining Woman's Club until finding a home on the third floor of the Washington School. As more donations poured into the museum, after thirty-five years, the Ossining Historical Society found itself in dire need of a building of its own. In 1970, the nonprofit moved into the historic Richard Austin House. The Historical Society house priceless artifacts from Ossining's rich history including an 1830 landscape by Hugh Reinagle, pieces from old locomotives, and much more. In 1989, the Richard Austin House was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Williams, Gray . Jackson, Kenneth T.. Picturing Our Past National Register Sites in Westchester County. New York. 2003.
The Ossining Historical Society Museum, ohsm.org. Accessed July 7th 2020. https://www.ohsm.org/about.
Village of Ossining, New York Significant Sites and Structures Guide, Wayback Machine. April 1st 2020. Accessed July 7th 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20140813042618/http://www.villageofossining.org/Documents/Village_of_Ossining_Significant_Sites_Structures_Guide(2).pdf.
Westchester County Historical Society. Photo by Gray Williams.
National Register of Historic Places.
Westchester County Historical Society